Custom harvesters moved into Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana this week, with most working with winter wheat, but a few spring wheat fields were cut in South Dakota before combines were slowed by fog and high humidity.
Hot weather this summer accelerated wheat development with many fields maturing one to two weeks faster than normal. Winter wheat yields of 40 to 50 bushels per acre were reported in southeast Wyoming near Torrington.
“The protein isn’t there, but the test weights are,” harvester Irvin Odegard said of the Wyoming wheat.
Low protein content has been a common theme in this year’s winter wheat harvest, along with good yields and test weights. Odegard will be in northwest Montana next week cutting durum wheat.
Winter wheat fields on the southern edge of Nebraska’s panhandle yielded 35 to 50 bushels with test weights of 62 to 63 lbs. Protein readings of 9% to 10% were common, said harvester Short Kulhanek. There were instances of hail damage that flattened some of the fields, which slowed the pace of harvest.
Spring wheat near Pierre, South Dakota, yielded 40 to 50 bushels, said harvester Sue Holland.
Holland’s crew finished cutting winter wheat near there with some fields producing 90 bushels per acre. Much of that wheat went into private grain bins so protein readings were not available.
Holland and other crews expect to be in North Dakota next week. Rain storms in that state apparently hurt spring wheat in the northern counties and near the Minnesota border, she said. Meanwhile, dry conditions may have hurt the wheat in southwest portion of the state.
North Dakota’s spring wheat production is expected to be down, with USDA forecasting 279 million bushels due to fewer acres and lower average yield. Last year the state harvested 319.2 million.
Weather maps show severe storms moving through North and South Dakota today and Saturday. In addition, the 6- to 10-day outlook (July 27-31) favors more rain for that region along with seasonal temperatures.
USDA on July 12 forecast Nebraska’s winter wheat crop at 60 million bushels with an average yield of 50 bpa. A year ago it produced 45.98 million at 38 bushels. Winter wheat in South Dakota is forecast at 57.78 million at 54 bpa, while the year ago crop was nearly 42.7 million at 44 bpa. Spring wheat production is forecast at 45.6 million bushels, down from 2015’s 60.4 million, with an average yield of 46 bpa versus last year’s 36.
As of Sunday, South Dakota’s winter wheat was 53% harvested, while no harvest readings were available for spring wheat. Montana’s winter wheat was 2% harvested as of Sunday, compared with 10% a year ago, and the 4% average.
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