Spring wheat harvesting in southern North Dakota this week has been slowed by rain, but custom harvesters reported an average, disease-free crop with yields of 30 to 60 bushels per acre.
Damage from a hail storm a few weeks ago became evident in southwest North Dakota. One harvester reported an 80% loss in one field. Also, harvesters relayed reports of rain and hail damage to fields in the southeast part of the state but that couldn't be readily confirmed.
“There was some crazy hail north of I-90,” said harvester Nancy Eberts, whose crews were finishing up fields near Bismarck.
Eberts and other harvesters said it will take about two more weeks to complete the spring wheat and durum harvests. Yields in the southwest fields ranged from 30 to 50 bushels per acre.
“We are happy it is not bleached, it is not shriveled and it is in the bin,” she said.
North of Bismarck, harvester Shorty Kulhanek dodged rain showers, but when combines were able to cut the spring wheat yielded 40 to 60 bushel yields with test weights of 62 to 65 pounds per bushel. Proteins ranged from less than 14% to more than 15%.
“Some of it is slowly getting ready,” said Kulhanek. “We will be here another week or two.”
Further north near Minot, the weather has been dry and allowed swift progress on the wheat. However, rain is needed for the fall crops such as corn and soybeans. Much of this week’s rain has been south, missing the state’s northern crop areas, said harvester Chad Brink.
“We are begging for rain in Minot. If we don’t get rain soon we are going to lose some soybeans,” he said.
The spring wheat there yielded 45 to 60 bushels with proteins from 14.8% to 15.8% and test weights from 60 to 64 pounds, he said.
“It is a very nice crop, but there is just not a lot of it,” said Brink.
Farmers this year planted corn, soybeans, sunflowers, peas and other crops on traditional wheat acres, he said.
North Dakota is the largest spring wheat producer. USDA currently expects that state’s harvest at 291.4 million bushels, down from last year’s 319.2 million, due to fewer acres of 6.2 million vs 2015’s 6.65 million. USDA on Friday raised its average yield to 47 bushels from July’s 45. Last year’s yield was 48.
As of Aug. 7, USDA rated North Dakota’s spring wheat 71% good to excellent.
In north central Montana, harvester Mike Strunk crews dodged rain showers this week and were about finished with the winter wheat, with yields up to 50 and 60 bushels per acre. His crews will soon start cutting spring wheat near Minot, North Dakota.
USDA currently forecasts Montana’s winter wheat production at 96.8 million bushels with an average yield of 44. Last year, it produced 91.02 million at 41 bpa. Spring wheat there is forecast at 85.12 million bushels at 38 bpa versus 2015’s 75.64 million at 31 bpa. USDA on Friday raised Monday’s average spring wheat yield to 38 bpa from July’s 34.
On Monday, USDA said 22% of North Dakota’s spring wheat was harvested compared with 11% a year ago and the 15% average. In Montana, the winter wheat was 82% cut, compared with 80% a year ago and the 50% average. Montana’s spring wheat was 19% cut versus 22% a year ago and the 15% average.
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July 1, 2016 - Wheat Harvest 2016 - Rain slows progress
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