Spring wheat in North Dakota is yielding 50 to 60 bushels per acre, with test weights at or near 60 lbs per bushel and proteins up to 15 percent or more, custom harvesters said this week.
In western and southwest areas of the state, the wheat remains flattened after a wind storm about two weeks ago. Combines are recovering the fallen wheat, but the process had slowed the pace of harvest.
"We are still dealing with that," said harvester Myron Eberts, who was cutting near South Heart, N.D. "We are pretty much shaving the ground."
The fallen wheat is of good quality, devoid of disease, and yielding 40 to 60 bushels, he said.
Wheat Harvest 8/6: Wind storms hit North Dakota fields
Barley fields sustained considerable wind damage, with a few harvesters reporting the grain heads were shattered.
Near Washburn, in central North Dakota, Shorty Kulhanek's combines were just starting on the spring wheat after cutting canola and other crops.
"It (wind) blew over some of it. We are going to cut it low," he said
Early results had 14.5 to 16.5% protein, with 60 lbs or better test weights, he said.
Hot weather has helped dry down the wheat and speed ripening. Temperatures were in the 90s Fahrenheit this week, with instances of 100.
In southwest North Dakota, rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning may delay harvest a little, but otherwise progress was going well, said Sue Holland.
"There is some good wheat of 60 bushels per acre," she said.
Once the Holland harvesting crew finishes in North Dakota it will move to Saskatchewan. However other harvesters said they will stay in the United States and turn south to focus on other crops.
In South Dakota, harvester George Stolzenburg reported spring wheat testing 59 to 60 lbs with yields of 50 bushels or more.
"It is probably the best test weights we have seen this year," he said. Stolzenburg, like other custom harvesters, started in the central and southern Plains and moved north.
In northeast Montana near Whitetail, the spring wheat was not quite ripe, so harvester Irvin Odegard cut lentils and peas. However, he said the spring wheat appeared to be of fair quality, but was hurt by drought early in the growing season.
In North Dakota, USDA said spring wheat harvest was 16% done as of Sunday compared with the 17% average. South Dakota's harvest was at 53% versus the 45% average. Montana's was at 29% versus the 7% average.
USDA this week raised its forecast for South Dakota spring wheat production to 64.4 million bushels from 63.02 million as it raised the average yield by a bushel to 47.
In North Dakota, the spring wheat crop was forecast at 297.6 million bushels on 48 bushels per acre versus 2014's 291.65 million and 47.5 yield.
In Montana, spring wheat was forecast at 85.25 million bushels on 2.75 million acres. USDA this week dropped the average yield to 31 from 32. In 2014, the state produced 104.3 million bushels on 2.98 million acres.