Douglas County farmers harvested more than 95 percent of the wheat acreage planted last year and the crop yielded more grain per acre than the state average, according to the 1992 wheat production report from Kansas Agricultural Statistics.
The report said that 23,000 acres of wheat were planted in Douglas County and 22,000 were harvested at an average yield of 38 bushels per acre. The county's total production was 836,700 bushels.
Garry Keeler, agriculture agent with the Douglas County Extension Office, said the wheat yield last year was higher than the state average of 30 to 35 bushels per acre.
"One advantage was the cool spring, which wheat can really take advantage of," he said.
The 1992 Kansas wheat crop, at 363.8 million bushels, was up only slightly from the 1991 level. Planted acres in the fall of 1991 were up 2 percent from the previous year at 12 million acres, while acres harvested in 1992 were down 3 percent at 10.7 million.
The average yield per acre of 34 bushels compares with 33 bushels for the 1991 crop.
ACCORDING to the report, "Most of the 1992 wheat crop was planted under generally short moisture conditions. A cold front the last week of October brought subfreezing temperatures to most of the state, along with moderate to heavy rains. Fields stayed too wet to seed until well after the first of January. There was a significant acreage of wheat that was not planted until after the first of December and some farmers were still planting as late as early February."
Warmer than usual weather in January, February and March brought wheat stands out of dormancy ahead of schedule, and a cold front in late May produced one of the latest freezes ever recorded. Cool wet weather prevailed throughout June and July, causing numerous harvest delays.
Sumner County held on to its title as the leading wheat producer in the state with 13 million bushels in 1992. Finney County came in second with 11.2 million bushels, followed by McPherson County with 9.7 million bushels and Reno County with 9.3 million bushels.
HASKELL County had the highest wheat yield with 49.8 bushels per acre, followed by Cherokee County with 48 bushels per acre.
Following are the wheat production results for surrounding counties.
Jefferson: 18,000 acres planted; 17,000 acres harvested; 36.2 bushels per acre average; 614,700 bushels produced.
Leavenworth: 15,000 acres planted; 12,700 acres harvested; 37.1 bushels per acre; 471,700 bushels produced.
Wyandotte: 1,000 acres planted; 1,000 acres harvested; 29.6 bushels per acre; 29,600 bushels produced.
Franklin: 24,000 acres planted; 21,900 acres harvested; 36.5 bushels per acre; 799,400 bushels produced.
Johnson: 15,000 acres planted; 14,600 acres harvested; 45 bushels per acre; 657,000 bushels produced.
Osage: 26,000 acres planted; 25,300 acres harvested; 41.1 bushels per acre; 1,039,500 bushels produced.
Shawnee: 22,000 acres planted; 21,000 acres harvested; 39.7 bushels per acre; 834,200 bushels produced.
KEELER SAID the 1993 crop, planted last fall, is looking good. "We have the potential to have one of the best wheat crops we've seen in a number of years," he said.
One reason for the optimism is the snow that has blanketed western Kansas since before Thanksgiving and that currently is protecting the wheat stands in Douglas County and surrounding areas. He said the snow keeps the young wheat safe from bitter temperatures and high winds.