Wheat harvest in final stages of completion for much of southcentral Kansas

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
A harvest crew line-up greets the morning sun after a long night of cutting wheat to beat the rain that fell in Pratt County several times during the past week. Despite the minor interruptions, most Pratt County farmers are finished or in the final stages of wrapping up their 2021 wheat harvest.

The 2021 Kansas wheat harvest is nearing an end in Pratt County and surrounding areas this week, with most of the current crop already cut and at local elevators. According to Jim Lewton, Grain Operations Manager at the Iuka Elevator branch of Kanza Coop, it's been a pretty good year.

"The yields have been good, moisture is good, protein good, not too many surprises this year," he said. "We've had a few rain interruptions, but mostly just steady going. We're awfully close to the end now."

Like much of the state, Pratt County fields seem to be averaging in the 40-50 bushel-per-acre yield zone. In Stafford County to the north, yields were a bit higher by the bushel, but there were more problems with fungus growth.

John Hildebrand, who farms in Stafford County, applied fungicide for stripe rust this year, which had a heavy presence in the area and smoked untreated fields. He also applied 80 pounds of dry nitrogen per acre pre-plant, 30 pounds of nitrogen with 20 pounds of sulfur per acre during top dress and another 10 pounds of nitrogen along with the fungicide application.

He said he hopped around wheat patches on Friday afternoon following a trickle of rain Thursday night, but then was eventually rained out. He received about two inches of rain total and is hoping to be back in the field on Tuesday.

Overall, Hildebrand reported this year’s wheat crop has been more consistent across his fields than in years prior in addition to turning better than expected and better than last year. Yields are averaging between 50 and 62 bushels per acre — maybe even higher than that once tickets from Friday are verified — with test weights from 60 to 64 pounds per bushel.

Down the road, Stafford County Flour Mills, home of Hudson Cream Flour, reported protein levels coming in are averaging around 11 percent.

*Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat Commission contributed Stafford County wheat information.