The 2012 HRW wheat harvest is expanding rapidly northward with cutting now within 2 counties of the Nebraska state line in Kansas. All areas currently harvesting are a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of normal harvest dates. Harvest is winding down in north Texas northward to I-40 in central Oklahoma. However, combines are just beginning to cut dry land wheat in the High Plains (Amarillo northward), while irrigated wheat in that area is still green.
Quality reports continue to be very mixed with wide ranges in protein and a drop in test weight as harvest moved into areas of extreme drought stress (Oklahoma Panhandle into southwestern and west central Kansas)*. Generally, (where yields are good to excellent) proteins are down, but thousand kernel weights and test weights are up; this contrasts to areas (where yields are poor) having lower test weight and lower thousand kernel weights, but being higher in protein. Average protein is still at 11.8%* (again with wide variations by location). The effects of drought and high temperatures during grainfill are becoming very obvious as a function of yield, protein and kernel characteristics. *(Quality data below is from partial TX and OK only).
The contrast of this crop to last year is volume. Texas and Oklahoma will have much bigger crops than last year (and Kansas may). The big question mark on yields in Kansas will be how far west and north are effects of drought and disease going to be reflected in yield.
Dockage and total defects took a jump this week while test weight dropped a pound. This was not totally unexpected as harvest move into more moisture deficient areas and numerous rain events have plagued much of the harvest area. Hail has accompanied many of these storms with several localized areas suffering substantial losses.
* not updated
Download a PDF of the Harvest Summary of HRW June 1st, 2012