Wichita The first combines rolling over this year's winter wheat fields in southern Kansas have hauled in crops of excellent quality, but yields have been so bad that prospects now are for less than half a normal crop in the area, according to early harvest reports.
On Tuesday, the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service issued its latest crop update, showing nearly half of the state's drought-plagued winter wheat crop was in poor to very poor condition.
About 150,000 bushels of wheat have been taken into the grain elevator at Kiowa since the first loads began showing up Thursday evening, said Alan Meyers, general manager of OK Co-op Grain Co. in Kiowa. Normally, harvest does not start here until June 5 or later.
"Quality is fantastic," Meyers said. "Quantity is not going to be there as we wish it was."
Test weights have been high, running between 61 and 64 pounds per bushel, he said. But yields have been in the mid to upper 20 bushels per acre.
Meyers said he anticipates wheat production around Kiowa - which has not gotten a good rain since last fall - will be around 40 percent of a normal crop for the area.
The breakdown released Tuesday by KASS shows 21 percent of the state's wheat crop in very poor condition, with another 28 percent rated as poor and about 30 percent was ranked as fair. Just 20 percent of the Kansas crop was said to be in good condition, and only 1 percent was ranked as excellent.
About 44 percent of the wheat has turned color, with the crop maturing quickly, KASS said.