Combines roll in Pratt County, around the state
Combines were rolling in parts of Pratt County early Monday afternoon, as farmers and harvesters took to the fields in pursuit of the 2020 wheat crop. One mile east of Pratt, visible from U.S. Highway 54, three combines circled a field, cutting wheat, threshing out the grain in a cloud of dust and leaving behind the usual glistening rows of yellow straw.
At the Iuka branch of the Kanza Cooperative Association, Vice President of Grain Jim Lewton said harvest was off to a good start.
"This is literally our first day to take in any loads," Lewton said. "It's going well. Moisture is dry and tests are high."
Lewton said maybe a half-dozen loads of wheat came in at Iuka before 5 p.m. on Monday, but he expected things would pick up quickly as more fields reach ready stage.
According to Marcia Boswell of the Kansas Wheat Commission, wheat harvest in south central Kansas actually began last Thursday.
"Test cutting in the area began as early as June 6, but most areas were just not quite ready," Boswell said in a press release. "With ideal harvest weather (hot temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds) forecast over the next ten days, fields will dry out quickly, and combines should be able to get rolling over the upcoming weekend."
A very preliminary report of above average yields and exceptional test weights - similar to fields harvested in central Oklahoma - came from a custom cutter in southern Harper County, according to Boswell.
On June 11, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released their June Crop Production report, increasing the estimated yield for the state to 49 bushels per acre, up from 47 bushels per acre in the May report. Total statewide winter wheat production for Kansas is now estimated at 315.5 million bushels.
In the Kansas Wheat Harvest Report, Day 2, Mike Snell at Farmers Coop Equity Co. in Medicine Lodge in Barber County, said that harvest got going there on Saturday, June 13, and has been rolling since then. While no one has mentioned yields yet, he said they should be decent. The area saw a really good spring with timely rains and cool temperatures during the grain fill period. He said, test weights so far have been "phenomenal," averaging about 64 pounds per bushel. Overall, the area is looking at a pretty good crop; however, protein levels are slightly below average at about 10.5 percent.