By Ryan D. Wilson
Clay Center Dispatch
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday hasn’t changed with its May estimate that the Kansas wheat crop would produce 387 million bushels.
That’s 40 percent more than the 2011 crop, according to the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. If that forecast holds true, the 2012 crop could boast the highest production since 2003. The average per-acre yield on 9 million acres is predicted to be 43 bushels to the acre, the two wheat organizations said.
In Clay County farmers planted “slightly more” wheat acres than they did last year, said AgMark grain marketing specialist David Pfizenmaier. Farmway elevators are prepared for it, he said.
“We’ve got plenty of bin space,” he said.
With the harvest about 90 percent done in Clay County, Farmway elevators in the area, which include Beloit and Concoria as well as Clay Center, are seeing fairly good quality wheat, Pfizenmaier said.
“Our elevators are seeing 60 pounds a bushel for the most part and farmers are getting high yields, a lot of 50 bushels plus (per acre) yeilds,” he said.
Protien levels, however, are “very low,” in the range of 10.5 to 11 percent; but that typically happens when yeilds are high, Pfizenmaier said.
The dry weather has played a factor and because of it, the harvest isn’t as good as it could have been.
“We could have had 60 to 70 (bushels per acre) yeilds if we had just a couple more rains,” Pfizenmaier said.
But because of the dry weather, the harvest went quickly, he said.
“It’s been a fantastic year -- one of the fastest and earliest we’ve ever had,” Pfizenmaier said. “Most farmers got their wheat out in a little over a week, which is very fast.”
The rest of the area reflects similar trends.
Harvest around Clifton should be “pretty well done today or tomorrow,” Clifton United Farmers Co-op manager John Tillinghast said this morning.
“We’re on the downhill slide,” Tillinghast said.
Yields ranges from the 30s to 50s in bushels per acre, and test weights are pretty good too, he said.
“There’s some decent wheat out there,” Tillighast said. “It’s a whole lot better than what we thought it would be.
The Clifton area is very dry, drier than areas northeast and southeast, which received rains in the last couple weeks that went by Clifton. Farmers knew drought “was going to happen” because they got timely rains for a couple of years now. However, a timely rain still is possible, he said.
“We needed the rain two weeks ago, so we’re still struggling,” he said. “But if we go the rain now, it still would a very timely rain. It’s still early ... We used to talk about those million-dollar rains. Now it’s a $10 million rain.”
Jay Lippert, of Lippert Grain Company in Green, said the harvest is “pretty well wrapping up” there, with a “a good crop,” test weights 61 to 62 pounds per bushel and yeilds rangign 40 to 60 bushels per acre. Like every place else, the Green area is “plenty dry,” he said.
“It will be another average harvest,” he said.
According to the Kansas Wheat Commission, Shane Ohlde, certified seed grower from Palmer, said on Tuesday the wheat in Clay and Washington counties has performed well, with yields averaging between 50 and 60 bushels per acre and test weights, 61 to 64 pounds. Ohlde says the varieties Cedar and Everest are top performers, while a three-way blend of Everest, Armour and Hitch has also been very solid.
KAWG director Randy Fritzemeier, from Stafford, said the variety Stout was his best performer, with Everest a close second. His crop averaged 45.5 bushels per acre, with a range of 22 to 63. Test weight averaged 62 pounds.