Custom harvesters in northern Oklahoma reported good yields and test weights this week as hot weather accelerated crop maturity to allow for a swift harvest.
The better quality wheat is a change from that found in north Texas near Wichita Falls, where excess rain hurt what could have been a good crop.
“We just stayed wet all through the growing season,” harvester Shorty Kulhanek said of the hard red winter wheat in Texas. Yields of 20 to 25 bushels per acre were reported there.
“It just rained and rained,” harvester Mike Strunk said of the Texas wheat. The rain hurt test weights there, which were about 57 to 58 lbs.
In north-central Oklahoma, yields of 45 bushels per acre were common on fields where fungicides were applied to prevent rust and disease. Harvesters there and in Kansas were working under hot conditions, with daytime highs in the 90s.
“We are finishing up in Pond Creek, Oklahoma. The wheat is really good,” said Chad Brink, a harvester based in Remer, Minnesota.
Test weights of 63 to 64 pounds a bushel were reported and Brink said the big crop has filled local elevators, which could be a problem if the grain cannot be shipped out. Brink’s crew will move to Dighton in western Kansas next week.
Irvin Odegard, a Montana-based harvester, concurred about the good crop in northern Oklahoma.
“It is going to be one of their better crops,” he said. Odegard was cutting this week near northwest of Oklahoma City and will move to southwest Kansas next week.
Near Kingman in south central Kansas, 50 to 60 bushel yields with 60 to 64 lb test weights were common, said Susan Holland, a Minnesota-based harvester.
“It is really good wheat,” said Holland. “It is hot. The weather is really pushing the wheat fast.”
Highs near 100 degrees Fahrenheit were expected in the central and southern Plains on Friday.
“Heat will persist across the central and southern Plains and develop across the Southwest. Starting during the weekend, temperatures could reach or exceed 120°F in parts of the Desert Southwest,” a USDA weather report said on Friday.
Rain and hail moved through northern Kansas this week and may have caused some damage, said Holland.
USDA on Monday rated Kansas wheat 61% good to excellent, Oklahoma’s 66% and Texas’ 44%.
Kansas is forecast to harvest 393.6 million bushels of wheat this year, up 22% from 2015, with an average yield of 48 bushels on 6% fewer acres. Oklahoma is projected to harvest 115.5 million, up 17% from 2015 and Texas 89.6 million, down 16% from 2015.