Winter wheat harvest inches forward

by Jay Sjerven
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KANSAS CITY — The 2013 winter wheat harvest advanced at a snail’s pace in the last week, according to crop progress and condition reports of U.S. Department of Agriculture state field offices issued June 3. Combining in the reporting states lagged both the historically strong pace set by the 2012 harvest and recent five-year averages for the date.

The U.S.D.A. indicated Texas wheat was 24% harvested by June 2 compared with 12% a week earlier, 75% on the same date last year and 56% as the recent five-year average for the date. The U.S.D.A.’s Texas field office commented, “The winter wheat harvest was under way in areas of North Texas. Wet conditions in the Blacklands delayed some wheat harvest. However, many producers lost much of their crop to previous weather damage and continued to bale or graze those fields.”

Texas wheat merchants commented the quality of the new crop they received to date was variable with test weight slipping in recent days.

Severe thunderstorms last week precluded harvest progress in central and eastern Oklahoma. Indications were combining began during the Memorial Day weekend around El Dorado in the southwest corner of the body of the state, but harvesting must have faltered shortly thereafter as the U.S.D.A.’s field office in the state was not able to assign a percentage to what little of the harvest had been completed. While central and eastern Oklahoma were afflicted by severe thunderstorms, the western part of the state remained in severe to exceptional drought, which delayed any significant harvest of small grains there, the U.S.D.A. said.

The soft red winter wheat harvest advanced, albeit slowly, across the Delta states and South. Combining in Louisiana was 19% completed by June 2 compared with 96% last year and 86% as the recent five-year average for the date. The Arkansas harvest was 1% completed compared with 91% last year and 28% as the average. Combining was 1% completed in Mississippi compared with 83% in 2012 and 37% as the average. Combining was 11% completed in Alabama compared with 47% last year and 22% as the average. The Georgia harvest was 21% finished compared with 82% last year and 47% as the average, and the South Carolina harvest was 5% completed compared with 33% last year and 18% as the average for the date.

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