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Kansas wheat harvest kicks off early

Kansas wheat harvest kicks off early

By Scout Nelson

The wheat fields of southern Kansas are bustling as combines took to the fields earlier than usual. This preemptive start to the wheat harvest is driven by an early maturation of wheat and an effort by farmers to outpace looming storms.

Surprisingly, the yields this year are better than anticipated. The region faced a dry start to the year, but recent rains have significantly benefited the grain filling process, making this year’s wheat crop much more robust compared to last year's disappointing output.

Early assessments report test weights between 62 and 63 pounds per bushel, with protein content averaging between 11 and 12 percent.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) initially pegged this year's Kansas wheat production at 267.9 million bushels in its May forecast.

This estimate is a sharp increase from last year’s harvest of 201.25 million bushels, which suffered due to a high abandonment rate of 29 percent—the worst since 1951.

As of June 2, crop conditions varied across the state with 34 percent rated poor to very poor, 32 percent fair, and 34 percent good to excellent. 25% of the crop had reached maturity, significantly ahead of last year’s 1% at the same time.

Looking ahead, the harvest is expected to continue through the weekend, despite the forecast predicting scattered rains along with potential thunderstorms, wind, and hail. These conditions may pose challenges but won't likely halt the progress of this year’s promising harvest.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-ygrek

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Categories: Kansas, Crops, Wheat, Harvesting

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