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Grain Science and Industry

Producer Profiles

Doug Keesling, Chase, Kansas-- Rice County

May 29, 2009
From the central region of Kansas, Doug Keesling is a 5th generation producer. Growing wheat since 1987, he also raises corn, soybeans and grain sorghum. Keesling is also a seedsman who raises and sells his own seed. His operation is predominantly no-till.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
“I just came from a variety wheat plot tour with the county extension agent. The synopsis: a wide variation in wheat stages because of planting dates being so varied. If you planted before Oct. 1, there’s a wide variety. Some disease pressure. The cool fill time—allowed us to feel better. Now the fields that were not the best fields are starting to look at little bit better.”

Compared to last year?
“Yields may be similar or a little below because of disease pressure. We’re behind on maturity.”

When will you begin harvesting?
“Typically between June 15-18th.”

The international buyer should know...
“Kansas is the breadbasket of the world, so please come and visit our wheat crops, because it’s always the best wheat.”


Jay Armstrong, Muscotah, KS--Atchison County

Producers>Jay Armstrong

May 29, 2009

As a fourth-generation wheat producer from Muscotah, KS, Jay Armstrong looks for ways to maximize output. In addition to wheat, he also raises corn and soybeans. “Our family has always grown wheat. We look for ways to double crop. We plant wheat to level out our workload. It gives us some time put our ground up to a fine state of cultivation. Because of the humidity and moisture—we look at an intensive wheat program—high fertilizer, fungicides and a high seeding rate to compete with beans and corn.”

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
"We’ve had a wet spring here. Some farmers are seeing some fungi and viruses and are spraying for them. We’ll probably have an above average yield, but acres are down—down 25-30% in wheat acres."

Compared to last year?
"Last year was a disaster, the wheat scab took our crop. That’s another reason acres are down. High intensive corn areas and planting back into corn stubble which is conducive to wheat scab, is no longer considered an option. Management of wheat acres is another challenge."

"The remedy is to plant wheat after soybeans. Spring wheat is another remedy—it's expensive. It’s such a challenge to increase wheat acreage. If you plant wheat into corn stubble, the threat of scab has scared wheat farmers. Beans get harvested later. If the weather is not conducive, planting wheats gets so late, you just don’t do it."

When will you begin harvesting?
"I hope to harvest maybe round June 20-25. We cut wheat a little wet and will put it in bins and dry it. Allows us to plant and double crop beans."

The international buyer should know...
"It’s a bargain. From a supply perspective, the quality will be average or better. I look for production to be down because of Texas and Oklahoma and acreage being down will compound this. Buying early is a wise decision.”

Ron Suppes, Dighton, KS--Lane County

May 29, 2009

From the western region of Kansas, Ron Suppes has been a full-time producer for 30 years. A former educator, Suppes was previously a high school principal and part-time producer for 12 years. Along with his wife and partner Shirley, Ron farms 7500 acres, of which 3000 acres is wheat.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
“Rainfall since Easter is 6.5 inches. Annually it is 17 inches. Our six to seven year average has been 9-10 inches. This wheat crop wouldn’t be here otherwise. This last rain saved it again. I’m anticipating a 40-bushel average. It’s fertilized for a 40-bushel crop. Everything was soil tested before we put a kernel in the ground. Three-fourths of my wheat is a continuous crop with one-fourth being summer fallow. We lay it out of season to obtain more moisture. You have to try to get a crop each year. During a drought, it doesn’t work so well. It’s only possible in western Kansas because of No Till. 80% of my farm is 100% No Till. The rest is in a two-to three year rotation with wheat and sorghum.”

Compared to last year?
“We’re about 10 bushels off of our average prior to the drought, but better than we have had. It’s a more uniform 40 bushels.”

When will you begin harvesting?
“June 20. Three days later than normal. It will range from June 10- June 20.”

The international buyer should know…
“Come to my farm! 80% Hard white wheat. Excellent milling quality.”

Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kansas--Marion County

May 29, 2009

A third-generation producer from Hillsboro, Kansas, Paul Penner has been in operation since the mid to late 1970’s. In addition to wheat, he also raises grain sorghum, soybeans and corn.. He currently farms 1000 total acres, of which 500 areas are planted to wheat.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
“It’s looking better than I expected. We have some pretty good conditions right now. There is plenty of moisture. Disease presence is minimal. Rust is hardly present. Should be average to maybe above average yield.”

Compared to last year?
“Last year was a good year. We were recovering from frost damage from the year before. In No Till, crops the wheat was a little poorer. It’s better this year in terms of crop yield.”

When will you begin harvesting?
“Probably the week of June 15-20. if things are progressing normally. If it gets hot and stays that way, it might hasten harvest a little bit.”

The international buyer should know…
“Kansas wheat producers are known for raising a lot of wheat. In terms of wheat quality, it’s generally very good. Whenever quality is emphasized, we produce the type of wheat that most buyers are satisfied with.”

Scott Van Allen, Clearwater, Kansas--Sumner County

May 29, 2009

Scott Van Allen grew up on a family farm. Married with two children, he became a producer in 1974. He currently farms 2800 acres in Clearwater Kansas, which is located south of Wichita, of which 2250 is wheat, and 550 acres is grain sorghum.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year? “I think it’s going to be very disappointing in Sumner County. We’re pulling rye out for seed wheat. The freeze in April hurt. All the wet weather since then has drowned out large areas of field—20% of the field. From the field plot tour, some of the guys farther south already had fields zeroed out. Most of damage is due to wet weather.”

Compared to last year? “Last year we had a pretty average crop. 35 bushel average. This year, I’m hoping for a 30-bushel average.” When will you begin harvesting? “I hope to start around 15th.” The international buyer regarding should know…I expect a short crop this year. It looks pretty good in northern and western parts of Kansas. I don’t know how it’s going to wash out in south central Kansas.”

Mike Brown, Colby, Kansas--Thomas County

May 29, 2009
Mike Brown, a wheat producer from Colby, Kansas currently farms 5000 total acreage—all dryland, no irrigation. In addition to wheat, he and his family raise corn and grain sorghum. 1750 acres consists of wheat, 800 acres of corn, and 700 of grain sorghum. The rest is summer fallow. His operation is mainly no-till, although 40 acres are convention till.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
“Our wheat crop looks pretty good. It’s blooming and starting to develop kernels. We’ve got 4-5 inches of rain recently; we had good rains in October. Things look pretty good.”

Compared to last year?
"A little further behind. The yield looks comparable. Good yields last year. Not as much disease as far as rust. Last year we sprayed, we’re not doing any spraying this year."

When will you begin harvesting?
“Maybe around July 5.”

The international buyer should know…“Quality will be good. Test weights will be decent. I’m guessing our test weights will be fairly decent. Protein will be pretty good.”

Larry Kepley, Ulysses, Kansas--Grant County

June 9, 2009

From the far southwest corner of Kansas, Larry Kepley, of Ulysses, has been a producer since 1973. His main operation is wheat seed production. In addition to growing wheat, he also grows corn, grain sorghum and raises a small beef cow herd. He farms a total of 1800 acres, with 740 acres planted to wheat.

What are you seeing with the wheat crop so far this year?
“The dry and cold conditions damaged some of the wheat. I plan on harvesting about 450 of the total acreage. We had good stands going into winter. When we came out of dormancy—there was no moisture. November 13th of last year was our last moisture until April. A cold spell in early February froze a lot of it. Some places were completely blank fields. We’ll have average yield—18 bushels overall. None of that irrigated. We’re 100% No Till.”

Compared to last year?
“Last year, we harvested everything we planted. It was an average crop. Low 30 bushel average—all dryland.”

When will you begin harvesting?
“June 20th.”

The international buyer should know…
“We’re a 100% hard white winter wheat. We have it available for the highest bidder.”