Farm Talk

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June 12, 2012

A whole different type of wheat harvest

Parsons, Kansas — Area wheat farmers are realizing the true meaning of a bountiful harvest this year as they continue to cut a crop that not only is high in quality but also is turning in record yields. And, even more importantly, for the first time in a number of years they are getting paid a good price for the crop they are harvesting.

According to Perry Sorrell, general manager of the Bartlett Co-op in Bartlett, Kansas, this year’s wheat crop has been extraordinary.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he explains. “Yields have been good with the lows in the 40s and we have even heard of some 100 bushel to the acre yields.”

Overall Sorrell says yields were averaging in the upper 60s with phenomenal test weights.

“Standards keep getting stricter for grain quality but this year’s wheat has had great test weights, has even been on the dry side when it comes to moisture and it’s clean and mostly weed free,” Sorrell says.

When it comes to prices Sorrell is optimistic.

“Markets are so volatile. We used to see 30 to 40 cent swings over time and now we can see that in a day or two,” he explains. “This year prices are staying in there pretty good. We have seen prices in the $7-$8 range and right now we are in the $5-$6 range which is a good place to be.”

Sorrell estimates that wheat harvest in the Bartlett Co-op trade area, which is made up of the southern half of Labette County, Kansas and the upper half of Craig County, Oklahoma is over 60 percent done.

Gary Beachner, general manager of Beachner Grain agrees with the quality of this year’s wheat crop.

“In this region of southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma the wheat quality, across the board, is very, very good,” Beachner explains. “We have seen an awful lot of nice test weight wheat with averages around 61 and highs of 65.”

When it comes to yields across the Beachner Grain trade area which extends from Paola, Kansas to Afton, Oklahoma, Beachner says they have been very good.

“We are predominantly hard wheat and we have seen some pockets that didn’t have as good a yields as other areas but overall this region is averaging over 50 bushels to the acre,” he says.

In his business, Beachner says every year is different but this one may tilt the scale a little more.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in 25 years,” he explains. “We have nice quality, nice yields and nice weather which actually put us about two weeks early.”

It is years like this that make up for the hard times that farmers have to face.

“Our producers are excited about the nice quality and nice yielding crop in this region,” Beachner says.

According to him, wheat harvest will reach the 50 percent complete stage around June 7 which is usually a good starting time.

Moving across another state line into Missouri, Mike Dawes, general manager of Lockwood Farmers Exchange says their harvest is just getting underway.

“It looks like we may have a little above average yields and good quality but they are just getting wound up,” he explains. “I expect to see yields in the 60s and 70s with some a little better and some a little worse.”

According to him, it’s a good time to have a wheat harvest like this.

“Our guys are pretty excited about the wheat crop. The last couple years have been pretty tough and they are a lot happier about this year,” he says.

JaNetta Larsen, grain merchandiser for Producers Grain in Walker, El Dorado and Bronaugh Missouri says harvest is underway and has been exceptionally good so far.

“We have seen test weights from 54 to 61 and yields from 60 to 100 bushels to the acre,” she explains. “I think this is going to be a bumper crop across the U.S. and the price is hanging in there too.”

According to her, prices have fluctuated daily but they have gone down and come up.

When it comes to stage of completion, she says some producers are nearly done while others haven’t even started yet.£

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