Wichita Plagued by a drought that caused crops to mature faster and left fewer acres and bushels to cut, the 2006 Kansas wheat harvest has passed the halfway mark.
About 53 percent of the wheat has been harvested, Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service said Monday, compared to 9 percent that was cut at this time last year. The unusually quick harvest easily surpasses the five-year average of 15 percent.
In its weekly crop report, the agency said 86 percent of the wheat is now ripe, compared to 59 percent at this time a year ago.
The Department of Commerce is closing several harvest offices in the southern part of the state where harvest is nearly done.
Northwest Kansas was about 7 percent finished with wheat harvest, KASS reported. Higher elevations there traditionally make it the last place in the state to cut wheat. In the northeast, 12 percent of the crops had been cut as of Sunday.
South-central Kansas, where harvest began, was 83 percent finished, and central Kansas was at the 73 percent mark, the agency reported. Southwest Kansas was 63 percent finished with harvest. North central Kansas hit the halfway mark, and the southeast parts of the state were doing a bit better with 55 percent of the crop now in the bin.
Meanwhile, the condition of wheat still in the field remained grim.
In its latest update, KASS rated about 46 percent of the wheat in poor to very poor condition. Another 32 percent was rated as fair, 20 percent was good and just 2 percent was excellent.
Among those cutting were farmers around Garden City, where the weather was clear, hot and dry. Test weights have been running between 55 and 61 pounds per bushel, with yields ranging from 15 to 35 bushels per acre.