Kansas wheat harvest
Harvest is officially under way in Kansas.

KANSAS CITY — Harvest is officially under way in Kansas, the top hard red winter wheat producing state, said the Kansas Wheat Commission, ahead of last year’s pace.

Combining started earlier this week in the Arkansas City area, in the extreme south-central part of the state. Based on about 200,000 bus that were harvested this week, farmers reported yields of between 40 and 50 bus an acre, higher than last year’s output, with test weights averaging 62@63 lbs per bu, the Kansas Wheat Commission said. Expectations were the harvest could last about 10@12 days in the area, assuming the weather cooperates and custom cutters are available.

While harvest began in Kansas, there remained plenty of wheat in Texas and Oklahoma that still needed to be cut.

“Rains are continuing to delay harvest in Texas, but combines are beginning to start rolling in the Lone Star State this week,” the wheat commission said. “Oklahoma is reporting good yields and outstanding test weights.”

The beginning of the 2016 Kansas harvest was earlier in June than in 2015. Expectations were for higher yields this year, although a decline in planted acreage was likely to limit the final bushel count.

“The latest U.S.D.A. National Agricultural Statistics Service harvest estimate is 352.6 million bus statewide, an increase from 321.9 million bus last year,” the wheat commission said.