Weather does a number on local wheat harvest

Heather Freeman | Herald

This year’s wheat harvest has been through it all. Despite the rain, freezing weather, drastic temperature changes and disease, the combines have started up and harvest has begun.

Some areas of the state are just finishing up their wheat harvest, while others are just beginning.

Wheat harvest in our area began Tuesday, June 30, said Dan Dalinghaus, manager at the Sabetha location of Ag Partners Coop. As of Monday, July 13, about 60 percent was completed.

“We are behind average for our area and in comparison to the rest of the state,” Dalinghaus said. “We would normally be done by now, but instead we have not taken in 50 to 60 percent of what I expected.”

Normally, wheat harvest takes seven days, but this year it is very wet. It has already been 30 days since the farmers have started, Dalinghaus said.

Farmers are getting about 20 to 30 bushels per acre, which is about half the normal amount, and has taken in about 40,000 bushels of wheat so far.

“The test weight is coming back very poor,” Dalinghaus said. “Usually, wheat weighs in around 60 pounds per bushel. This year’s wheat is weighing in around 50 pounds per bushel, which is much lower than normal.”

“This year, toxins are a big issue,” Dalinghaus said. “The Coop has about 60 samples in Topeka getting tested for vomatoxin, and results are showing 0 to 20 parts per million had vomatoxin in the samples.”

A normal sample would show 2 parts per million of vomatoxin.

“The price will be discounted due to the toxin, and this wheat might end up being used for cattle feed,” Dalinghaus said.

While local farmers are struggling with harvesting their wheat, Dalinghaus said, it is not the biggest crop-related struggle this year.

“The biggest struggle has been getting the bean [soybean] crop planted because of the rain,” Dalinghaus said. “About 95 percent has been planted.”

Time will tell once the beans are harvested around October.

Heather Freeman | Herald

Wheat is being taken in by Ag Partners Coop in Sabetha.
Wheat is being taken in by Ag Partners Coop in Sabetha.

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