MOUNDRIDGE – The recent warm weather may have been uncomfortable for some, but it has been the preferred weather for both Inman and Moundridge farmers as they hit the fields in full force for the past two weeks as they bring in the 2009 wheat harvest.
Larry Goerzen, Grain Department Coordinator at Mid-Kansas Coop, said this year’s crop is performing bettered than most thought it would.
“We’re all pleasantly surprised because yields are coming in better than expected,” he said. “Wheat is yielding quite well.”
Goerzen said in general the range of yields is quite large, going anywhere from 20 to 80 bushels per acre. However, he said the majority of the farmers are bringing in wheat in the 50 and 60 bushels range.
Some of the lower yields can be blamed on drown-outs and disease, Goerzen said, which is caused by the abundance of moisture the area experienced as the crops were growing.
Of course, that moisture brought cooler temperatures, and Goerzen said cooler weather is good during the time when the wheat heads are filling with kernels.
“It was ideal filling weather,” he said.
The only hiccup in the 2009 harvest season has been dealing with some mud in the fields, Goerzen said.
“It’s a little stressful to the combine operator and the machinery,” he said. “That’s really the only negative about this year’s harvest.”
The bench mark for a decent harvest, Goerzen said, is to have a field that produces wheat in the 50-bushels-per-acre range, and there are 60 pounds per bushel.
This year, Goerzen said, the test weights were exceeding that bench mark.
“By and large, good yields and good quality,” he said. “I think McPherson County is probably blessed with some of the better yields in the state.”
On Thursday, the trading on the markets closed with wheat standing at $5.46 per bushel.
For comparison, wheat was trading at $8 or $9 per bushel last year, Goerzen said, but looking at the 10-year averages, this year is still doing well, he said.
Goerzen said bigger costs in the way of land preparation, which includes working the ground and applying necessary chemicals, went into this year’s crop, so the farmers needed a higher trading price than normal to break even.
In the area in and around Moundridge and Inman, Goerzen said he guessed harvest was 2/3 finished.
As of Friday, the Moundridge elevator had taken in 700,000 bushels. The eight-year average is 1.1 million, Goerzen said.
Goerzen also said he anticipated the Buhler and Groveland elevators to bring in 400,000 to 500,000 bushels.
MKC has taken in 5 million bushels company wide, Goerzen said, which he believes means MKC is nearly halfway through harvest.
MKC brings in an average of 10 million bushels per year.