Kansas Wheat Yields Vary As Harvest Wraps Up

Jul 11, 2018

Wheat harvest is close to wrapping up in Kansas and overall production is down from last year due to dry weather in some areas and hail damage in others. 

In northwest Kansas, as much as 1 million bushels of wheat were lost to hail.

Eric Sperber, manager of Cornerstone Ag LLC in Colby, told Kansas Wheat that the area was hit with another hailstorm on Saturday.

“We have had five hail events since June 19, and fields that were missed from the previous storms got hit this time. Overall, the crop has good quality; unfortunately, we lost fields due to the hail storms."

Lisa Schemm, who farms in Wallace and Logan Counties, reported that half of her family’s planted wheat was destroyed by hail storms and portions of the remaining acres had freeze damage, which took its toll on yields. 

Logan Campbell, Dighton area grain manager at the Garden City Co-op in Lane County, told Kansas Wheat that area was also heavily affected by hail, which he said took out about one-third of the harvest. Recent rains also caused some delays in cutting.

He said yields varied considerably, from 10 to 50 bushels per acre.

In north central, Kansas, Jewell County farmer Bill Spiegel reported that he had wrapped up harvest a couple of weeks ago. He said due to dry weather, his crop yielded 55 to 60 bushels per acre – about 10 bushels per acre less than normal.

In his case, the yield losses were due to dryness, after not receiving any rain between October and April, but that there was recent rain that affected test weights, which were still good, he said.

“The crop didn't look good from the beginning. It turned out better than expected, but our expectations were really low to begin with,” Spiegel said.

Bryson Haverkamp, technical service representative with Indigo Ag, reported that harvest in his eastern Kansas territory, including Herrington, Kan., was complete as of last week. He said yields were variable and estimated the average was between 35-40 yields per acre.

According to Marsha Boswell with Kansas Wheat, normal yields in that part of the state is between 49 and 52 bushels per acre.

"The variability is a combination of planting dates, crop rotation, moisture at planting and whether or not the field got a timely rain or two," said Haverkamp, adding that it was still a high-quality crop.

As of Monday, according to the USDA, about 92 percent of Kansas’ 2018 winter wheat crop had been harvested.

According to the most recent estimates from the USDA, the total wheat crop in the state is expected to be around 270 million bushels, down 19 percent from last year's crop, with an average yield of 37 bushels per acre.