Early Harvest in Southern Kansas Surpasses Expectations: Improved Yields and Crop Conditions Despite Weather Challenges

By Trish Svoboda

In the past few days, combines have begun to operate in southern Kansas, following a slow start last week. The harvest has kicked off sooner than usual due to the early maturation of the wheat, with farmers racing against impending storms.

Yields in the area are surpassing expectations. Despite a dry first quarter, recent rains have aided in grain fill, making this year’s crop a significant improvement over last year’s disappointing yield. Preliminary reports indicate test weights of 62 to 63 pounds per bushel, with protein levels averaging between 11 and 12 percent.

The USDA/NASS projected the crop yield at 267.9 million bushels in their forecast on May 1. The estimate for June 1 is set to be released next week. The previous year’s wheat harvest in Kansas yielded 201.25 million bushels, with a 29 percent abandonment rate, the highest since 1951.

As of June 2, the condition of the wheat crop in Kansas was rated as 34 percent poor to very poor, 32 percent fair, and 34 percent good to excellent. The maturity of the crop was at 25%, significantly ahead of the 1% seen last year and the average. Despite the forecast of scattered rains, thunderstorms, wind, and hail, the harvest is anticipated to continue over the weekend.

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