Weather looks good as Kansas wheat harvest begins

by Laura Lloyd
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KANSAS CITY — The 2013 hard red winter wheat harvest made its way to top-producing Kansas Tuesday, about a week late compared to the 10-year average, said Jim Shroyer, agricultural agronomist at Kansas State University.

Though severe storms with hail and high winds delayed combining last weekend, the weather forecast for the next week or so appears to be “just what it is supposed to be — warm and sunny,” said David Salmon, an agricultural meteorologist based in Belton, Mo. “There may be a few nuisance showers, but there is not going to be a statewide soaking,” he added.

That is good news for Kansas, which endured delayed planting, unseasonably cool spring temperatures including several freezes, continued drought in the western edge of the state and other areas of excessive precipitation — all of which led to crop conditions that were less than optimal.

In the latest Crop Progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a total of 45% of the Kansas wheat crop was listed in very poor to poor condition as of June 16. Only 28% of the crop was rated good to excellent.

The 2013 harvest is currently in several south central Kansas counties. Steve Inslee, general manager of the OK Co-op in Kiowa, Kas., told the Kansas Wheat Commission that about 350,000 bus of wheat have been taken in by the elevator there. Farmers in several other counties have gotten started as well. The harvest should build through the weekend in various parts of the state. Early yield reports have been in the 59-61 bu per acre range, the K.W.C. said.

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