Wheat Harvest 2015: Wind storms hit North Dakota fields

Wheat Harvest 2015: Wind storms hit North Dakota fields

Harvesters say the flattened wheat can be recovered

Custom harvesters are now in North Dakota and found a recent wind storm had flattened a number of spring wheat fields and shattered the grain heads on wheat stalks.

While the damage was fairly widespread, the harvesters said much of the flattened wheat could be recovered.

"It is almost like a hail storm," said Myron Eberts, who is cutting in near South Heart in western North Dakota. "There is anywhere from 10% to 30% that was on the ground or damaged."

Yields in the area ranged from 30 to 50 bushels per acre, depending on the level of damage, he said. Also, the spring wheat maturity varies, with some fields are ready for harvest and others a week or more away.

Harvesters say the flattened wheat can be recovered

Harvester Chad Brink was in North Dakota when the wind storm hit.

"It was horrible. I never saw anything like it," he said, estimating wind gusts at 60 to 65 mph. "It went all night and all day. There has been some wheat lying down, but I think we will be able to get it. "

The wheat that survived the wind should be of good quality, said Brink, with yields of 65 bushels per acre and proteins at 15% to 15.5%.

"I think we are going to see some really good quality wheat this year," said Brink, who harvesting near Minot in the north central part of the state.

In central South Dakota, harvester George Stolzenburg said 20-bushel yields were common as the spring wheat was hurt by a spring freeze.

"Most of the winter wheat here was frozen out," he said, explaining much of it was plowed up and replanted to corn or sunflowers.

To the west, in Chester, Mont., near the Canadian border, Mike Strunk was waiting for the spring wheat to ripen.

"It is just a little green yet," he said. "The spring wheat is going to be hurt by the hot weather."

Ninety degree temperatures in July apparently stressed the crop in that region.

As of Sunday, USDA said South Dakota's winter wheat was 76% harvested versus the 72% average and the spring wheat was at 24% versus the 30% average.

In North Dakota, spring wheat harvest had not yet started according to USDA, compared with the 9% average. Montana's spring wheat harvest was 6% done versus the 2% average.

USDA currently forecasts South Dakota winter wheat production at 39.36 million bushels vs 2014's 59.4 million and its spring wheat at 63.02 million vs 2014's 71.68 million.

In North Dakota, the spring wheat crop was forecast at 297.6 million, down from 2014's 291.65 million.

In Montana, spring wheat was forecast at 88 million bushels vs 2014's 104.3 million. Winter wheat there was expected at 94.3 million versus 2014's 91.84 million.

TAGS: Wheat
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