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Grain Science and Industry

Harvest Comments

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Harvest comments and industry insights from producers and other wheat industry partners regarding the 2009 Kansas wheat harvest, as well as the wheat harvest regionally and nationally will be posted here. Your comments are welcome! To submit comments for posting, please send an email to Leland McKInney, KSU Extension State Leader at lelandm@ksu.edu.

NOTE: Audio discussion and commentary from various KSU faculty regarding early harvest data is also now available. Go to IGP Audio.

July 21, 2009-- "Rains have slowed the finish of harvest, there is probably a million bushels that remains to be cut. However, we do expect sample to be coming in from that area by the end of the week."
--Brad Cowen, NW Kansas

July 14, 2009--"Northwest Kansas is trying to wind down with harvest, but we continue to get rains to slow things down. I talked to a wheat producer from Sherman county yesterday that said he has had rain 12 nights in a row (last night would make it thirteen). Test weights are starting to decrease to the 57 to 60 pound range due to the rains. We have heard reports of fields in Cheyenne County in excess of 100 bushels to the acre. We, for all practical purposes, finished harvest on Saturday. We have about 30 acres of hailed wheat that we might try to harvest if it dries out. The rest of the hailed acres we won't put a combine in."

--Mike Brown, wheat producer, Colby, Kansas

July 8, 2009--The second quarter Wheat Quality Report for July is available: Annual Reports > Wheat Quality Report--July

July 5, 2009--"We finally finished wheat harvest three days ago and were pleasantly surprised of the overall quality and yields. Parts of our farm had experienced drought conditions from early April through the first of June and these fields held up better than expected, with test weights ranging from 57 to better than 58.5 pounds and yields in the 60 bushels/acre range. There was some evidence of shriveling in the grain, due to the dry conditions during the grain filling stage.

Once again, 2137 was our best overall performer with Santa Fe and Fuller doing well. I know some folks scratch their heads and cannot even imagine 2137 doing better than other varieties, but, in our area, it is still a popular variety and performs well in our conditions and soils. Incidentally, Fuller showed more disease pressure than Santa Fe or 2137."
--Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kansas

July 4, 2009--"Here in Scott and Lane counties we are about 75 to 80% completed. The yields on my continuous crop white wheat have been running between 30 and 60 bu. per acre with test weights 61 t0 65 and moisture 10 to 11. Currently we are up against green wheat."
--Ron Suppes, wheat producer, Dighton, Kansas

July 3, 2009--Harvest is over. I would have to say it was better than expected. Our average for both good and bad fields will be in the low 50’s. Quality was good and the harvest--in between a few thunderstorms--still got done without any major discomfort.

Many farmers were explaining how big and plump the berries were this year. Many test weights were over 60. I heard of no truck loads being rejected and elevators were glad to get the wheat. The wheat trade should be happy with what they are buying this year.
--Jay Armstrong, wheat producer, Muscotah, Kansas

July 2, 2009--"We got started cutting yesterday. Still having some trouble with green spots in the fields. Everyone should be going strong this weekend if the weather holds. Haven't heard of any yields but test weights running 60 to 64lbs. I don't know protein levels yet."
--Mike Brown, wheat producer, Colby, Kansas

July 2, 2009-- Listen to Jon Faubion's discussion of the early harvest data as it relates to the end-user.

July 2, 2009--Harvest Transportation Report
"This is a bit of an unusual harvest year transportation wise. I'm happy to state that there are no reported backlogs of rail car orders or delays in rail service from the Class 1 rail lines. This year rail cars are plentiful and service is running smoothly. Even the secondary rail car market is uncommonly depressed during the harvest period. Single cars on the BNSF are bid at tariff value and singles on the UPRR are currently bid at +$15/car. Hopper cars in the secondary shuttle train market are currently bid at a negative $100/car on the BNSF and at -$300/car on the UPRR. Shuttle hopper car offers on both rail roads are about $100-$150/car higher than the current bids.

Due to the current soft economic environment, and reduced grain demand, rail business is down across all Class 1 rail lines and this has forced rail roads to reduce their rail car fleets and park excess equipment. At this time last year the BNSF was running about 120 grain Shuttles; this year that number has been cut almost in half.

So the good news for producers and grain handlers is that rail equipment and power is readily available to move the current harvest. The next question will be, "At current market prices, will anyone want to move this crop, or will it be placed in storage for sale and movement at a later date?" Murphy's law prevailing; this may turn into one of those marketing years where the wheat crop did not want to move when the transportation was available, but instead decided to move in conjunction with the fall harvest. If that should happen, it's very likely we'll experience a very different logistical picture in October.

The rail roads certainly hope this scenario does not occur, but they caution shippers not to get lulled to sleep thinking that general distribution cars will always be available and able to be placed at a moments call."
--Jay O'Neil, Sr, Economist, IGP

June 30, 2009-- Listen to Jay O'Neil's audio commentary on the early reports of the Kansas Wheat Crop.

June 29, 2009--"Wheat harvest is rapidly moving across Kansas with many areas in the south nearing completion, and approaching full swing in the north. Test weights have been ranging between 57 and 60 lbs/bu in the south and southwest, and 60 lb/bu and above in the central and northern regions. Initial reports indicate that protein is averaging between 10 and 11% in many areas, though there are a few locations reporting protein levels closer to 12%. We are beginning to receive samples from the elevators participating in this year’s survey and will have quality test results posted as soon as possible."
--Leland McKinney, KSU Grain Science Department

June 28, 2009-- From our family farm in Emporia, KS. "Although the test weight was good at 59.4 lbs/bushel, the yield varied drastically throughout the field. Parts of the field were flooded in early March. Although the wheat was not a total loss, where the flood water was over or nearly over the wheat, yields averaged less than 20 bushels per acre. On the higher ground, where the flood water did not affect the wheat, yields were close to 50 bushels per acre. Overall, the wheat harvest for our family was disappointing this year as the wheat on our farm in east central Kansas suffered from too much rain and multiple spring floods."
--Mark Fowler, Associate Director, International Grains Program.

June 28, 2009-- "We finished the '09 harvest yesterday the 27th. Yields were disappointing to say the least, 17-39 bushels per acre, with an average of 30 bpa across 2,250 acres. The Easter freeze and wet spring took their toll an our wheat crop. On the plus side, the quality of wheat did hold up even after the rain last weekend as test weights held in the 58.5 to 60 lb. range. I don't have an idea of the protein level in our area but I would guess it to be fairly average."
--Scott Van Allen, Clearwater, Kansas

June 25, 2009--"What we're seeing is variable. I've cut my farm and my neighbor's farm and the yields have been ranging from 40-over 70 bpa. As far as quality, it's been testing very good, 61-62 lb. tests. I've had one field where we had some pressure and the test weights went down to 57. Other than that, I think it's a surprise it looks as good as it does because we had a two-month drought right during grain fill. "
--Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kansas

June 24, 2009-- I look for wheat harvest to start today and for sure tomorrow. Cargill at Atchison (KS) reported only one load in yesterday from around Leavenworth (KS) that looked really good with a test weight of 60 and moisture of 11.9. High humidity is making it tough to cut until mid-afternoons.
--Jay Armstrong, wheat producer, Muscotah, Kansas

June 24, 2009--"This is the second day of my harvest. Yields are around 50 bu./acre and test weights are 61-62. The straw has not completely dried out yet and is slowing harvest. We’ve just got a shower this morning that will delay us starting today."
--Steve Clanton, wheat producer, Minneapolis, Kansas

June 23, 2009--"We got back into the fields today after the 2" of rain we received on Friday and Saturday, and (harvest) got along surprisingly well. Test weights are still holding in the 59-lb. range and moisture in the 10's. Yields remain in the low to mid 30's."
--Scott Van Allen, wheat producer, Clearwater, Kansas

June 21,2009--"This area around here got a lot of rain yesterday. We're going to do a field check and see if it's dry enough to begin cutting. Might have to wait a couple of hours."
--Paul Penner, wheat producer, Hillsboro, KS

June 19, 2009-- We are probably 7-10 days from harvest. Rainy/high humidity days are delaying the dry down time. There have been some severe hail storms in the area but due to the small amount of wheat acres planted I haven’t heard of any disasters. Wheat in most cases is standing well and looks to be an average crop at this time."
--Jay Armstrong, wheat producer, Minneapolis, Kansas

June 17, 2009-- "Wheat harvest has started in Kansas.Combines are in full gear in the south central part of the state. They expect to start cutting around Dodge City sometime over the weekend. A few producers were test cutting further north, but the moisture content was still to high (21%). However, if the weather turns hot and windy, harvest will move across Kansas rapidly."
--Leland McKinney, KSU Extension State Leader