Harvest season one to forget after weather conditions take toll

7/6/2014

By Gordon D. Fiedler Jr.

By Gordon D. Fiedler Jr.

Special to The Telegram

(MCT) — Across north-central and northwest Kansas, the wheat harvest tales of woe have made harvest 2014 one producers would like to put behind them, except that this year, freezes, droughts, hail, ill-timed rains and weeds have conspired to extend the misery.

"We had a lot of hail, we had a lot of drought, the wheat here didn't get a good stand and didn't shade the weeds," said Terry Unruh, location supervisor for Canton Cooperative Elevator.

As a result, yields are in the 15- to 30-bushel range, far below average, he said. Fortunately, only about 10 to 20 percent remains to be cut.

About 30 percent still is in the fields in part of Republic County.

"We're at the 70 percent mark," said Carrie Williams, grain merchandiser for the Agmark Elevator in Concordia.

"We're on the tail end. The last bits will take a little longer. A lot of producers had weed pressures."

Those who sprayed now have to wait a week or more before they resume cutting.

Some aren't going to the trouble, Williams said.

"A lot of wheat was zeroed out this year," she said.

In harvested fields, yields covered the spectrum: from 2 to 50 bushels. The bulk has been in the 20- to 30-bushel range, down from 45- to 50-bushel yields normally reported.

"We had a freeze come through right when the wheat was heading out," Williams said.

Scoular Elevator in Saline County reported the harvest in this area was about 90 percent done.

But here, as elsewhere, weeds were the villains.

"Guys had to spray for weeds and they won't be able to cut until the middle of next week," said Tom King, merchandiser.

Although yields were down, test weights were good, King said.

"For as much rain as we had, it's held up," he said.

Harvest in Mitchell County is reported to be about 90 percent finished. Producers there dodged a big bullet that hit others elsewhere in the regions.

"We were pretty lucky. We have pretty sandy ground and a lot of the farmers got ahead of it and cut before the weeds got to be a problem," said Lonny Spangler, manager of the Agmark Elevator in Beloit.

Still, other factors dragged down yields to the 5- to 35-bushel range, he said.

In northwest Kansas, where the harvest is several weeks behind, only about 10 percent is cut, area elevators reported.

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