The 2011 HRW wheat harvest took a big leap forward in Colorado, Nebraska and especially South Dakota this past week with drier weather and triple digit temperatures. Colorado is winding down quickly now with the only area left harvesting being in the extreme northeast and front-range areas of the state. Nebraska is also winding down with most of the area left to be harvested being in the far west (Panhandle). Wyoming (at 12% harvested) is still well behind the 5- year average of over 50% harvested by this date.
Yields have increased as harvest moved northward with 45 to 65 bushels per acre now consistently being reported. As has been stated before in these areas, this increase in yield indicates more favorable growing conditions during key crop development periods and those conditions have also affected kernel characteristics. Producer and elevator reports are indicating a decrease in test weight and protein, but an increase in thousand kernel weight.
Test weight average dropped slightly this week, but thousand kernel weight average increased by seven tenths of a gram to 29.4 grams. Protein this week decreased by three tenths of a percent from 13.0 % to 12.7%. These slight reductions were offset by some very good yields being reported by producers. Many of the areas with good yields were not expected in late winter (February) due to erratic emergence and poor crop development. Favorable spring weather made the difference in yield for these areas.
View this PDF for visual test data from the 2009 harvest.