Except for irrigated wheat in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles wheat harvest is winding down rapidly in those states. The southern half of Kansas is also winding down with harvest, with the most notable areas in Kansas still harvesting being far southwestern Kansas (and irrigated fields in that area) and areas north of I-70 (especially northwest Kansas) now in full swing. Colorado and Nebraska are just getting started with still less than 10% harvested at this point. Yields continue to be impressive considering the dry hot weather most of the Southern Great Plains suffered during the most critical stage of water demand for plant development, pollination through grainfill. Yields have ranged from the low 20’s to well over 70 bushels per acre with commonly reported averages from 40 to 45 bushels per acre. Protein has also picked up significantly as harvest reached Kansas as general rule, but there still remain pockets of low protein in a mosaic pattern as was seen in Texas and Oklahoma.
With 181 samples now in the lab from Texas through the southern half of Kansas it has become obvious the damaging effect hot dry conditions had during the later stages of plant development on kernel characteristics. The most apparent has been in relation to kernel size, generally kernels have been small, with the areas producing the highest protein having more shrunken kernels and lowest yields, as would be expected. The areas producing the highest yield, while still having small kernels, do have higher TKW’s and lower protein, again as would be expected. The pattern is mosaic in nature and while somewhat wheat variety related the more dominate factor was the stage of growth the plants were in when the hot weather occurred and if scattered rain showers occurred during that stage of development. Most areas had little if any stored moisture on which to draw, so any supplemental rain made a big difference. While test weight did not change this week, protein increased again in the overall average and TKW dropped from last week.
Download a PDF of the Harvest Summary of HRW June 15th, 2012