2013 Colorado Winter Wheat Harvest Report
Monday, July 15, 2013
Harvest is still wrapping up in southeastern Colorado and is mostly in full swing along the Front Range and near Burlington and Haxtun, and wrapping up at Otis and Yuma. Farmers continue to have issues in some of the driest areas of the state with fields that still have green heads because of the freezes in April. So despite overall dry conditions, harvest is very slow in some areas.
Last Monday’s USDA NASS Crop Report estimated the Colorado winter wheat crop as 44 percent harvested, compared to 16 percent last week and 99 percent at this time last year, when harvest was dramatically earlier than normal. The five-year average for harvest on this date is 52 percent complete.
Amelia Cope of Cargill-Cheyenne Wells said that harvest was 85 percent complete for that area, and after a busy weekend most harvest has moved to the northern part of their intake areas. Moisture contents have been a little dryer, 8 to 12 percent, test weights have been a little higher, from 56 to 59 pounds per bushel, protein is still high at 14 percent, and most yields have been 6 to 10 bushels per acre. They had rain in the area last night, with .25” at Cheyenne Wells and 1” in Arapahoe.
Deb Smith of Stratton Equity Coop (Stratton, Burlington and Kirk) said they had reports of various amounts of weekend rainfall at their locations: Stratton 1 ¾”, Burlington .35”, Kirk 0.2”. Kirk is pretty much finishing up their harvest. Burlington had a good day on Saturday, but after a little rainfall Saturday night, Sunday was a slow day. There are still some irrigated fields that are showing green. Harvest for Burlington is about 50 percent complete. Stratton looks to be around 60 percent done. They are very pleased with the test weight average for all locations at 59.0 pounds per bushel and the protein coming in at 13 percent.
Mark Johnson at Cargill-Byers said he estimated harvest at 40 percent complete for the area, with some farmers totally finished and others with quite a bit of wheat to harvest yet. Moisture content averaged 10.8 percent, test weight averaged 58.2 pounds per bushel, the average protein content was 12.7 percent, and reported yields were from 15 to 35 bushels per acre, with most in the mid-20s. They had .5” of rain at the elevator Saturday night, but moisture was spotty in the area.
A Byers family farmer said they were 50 percent done with harvest for their farm but were not cutting today because of .5” to 1” of rain on most of their farm ground. Their moisture content had been 9 to 13 percent, test weights 57 to 58 pounds per bushel, protein high at 12 to 14 percent, and yields averaging 25 bushels per acre.
Brent Oestman of the Flagler Coop said the Flagler area was about 25 percent complete, while Genoa, Arriba and Hugo were only five to ten percent done with harvest. Spotty rain in the area of .1” to .5” was keeping things slow around Genoa this morning. Moisture content was averaging 12.5 percent, test weights averaged 59 pounds per bushel, protein was 12 percent and yields reported were still mostly in the 20 to 29 bushel per acre range.
A Genoa family farm had cut about 300 acres so far, and were stopped now with spotty rain and green heads. They thought it would be Wednesday before things dried out and ripened up enough to get the combines started again. The wheat they had cut yielded 16 to 30 bushels per acre, test weight was 60 pounds per bushel or a little better, protein was from 10.5 percent to 16 percent, and moisture content was 10 to 13 percent. They had received rain up to 2.25” on their farm, but spotty.
An Otis wheat grower received .80” of rain on Friday and Saturday, and was able to harvest on Saturday but not on Sunday. He has about 80 acres left to harvest but thinks he will have to wait until tomorrow to get in the field.
Steve Klee at CHS-Yuma said harvest is about 85 percent complete for the area but that rain Saturday night and Sunday afternoon had really slowed things down. Rain amounts ranged from an inch to seven inches of rain near Eckley. Moisture content at Yuma averaged 11 percent, test weight was 60 pounds per bushel, protein content averaged over 13 percent, and yields reported were mostly around 25 bushels per acre.
A Yuma wheat farmer was stopped this morning because of rain in amounts ranging from .2” to 2” on his farm. He reported his best yields in a field of Byrd with 55 bushels per acre and 62 pounds per bushel test weight, and 12 to 13 percent protein. Test weight for their farm has ranged from 54 pounds per bushel to 62 pounds per bushel, protein has been 11.5 to 16 percent, and yields have been 25 to 55 bushels per acre, with most between 35 and 40 bushels per acre.
Brian Irey of J.D. Heiskell (Stoneham, Platteville, Wiggins, Fort Morgan) said that harvest activity began to pick up on Friday at all locations, but the high humidity and rains brought machines to a standstill by Saturday night. They are beginning to receive some irrigated wheat harvested in the Fort Morgan and Wiggins locations with 59 – 61 pounds per bushel test weight, 10 to 11 percent protein and yields above 50 bushels per acre. Dryland yields are around the 20 – 30 bushels per acre range with 56 – 58 pounds per bushel test weights and protein ranging from 10 – 16 percent at all locations. Harvest is approximately 20 percent complete.
Roggen Farmers Cooperative said that things are slow since many farmers got rained out Saturday, and harvest is about 50 percent complete in the area. Average moisture content is 10 percent, test weight averaged 58 pounds per bushel, protein averaged 12 percent, and yields had been around 35 bushels per acre.
A Wiggins wheat grower said they wrapped up harvest on their farm last Friday. Moisture contents averaged around 10 to 11 percent, test weights were 57 to 62 pounds per bushel, and yields ranged from the mid 30s to the high 40s.
WestPlains, LLC at Johnstown reported that harvest was rained out in their area most of the weekend and that there probably won’t be much field work today. Harvest only advanced two to three percent to 12 or 13 percent complete. Moisture content so far has averaged 11 percent, test weight 58 pounds per bushel, protein 13 percent (and they are paying a protein premium at 12 percent and above).
Scott Kirkwood at Grainland-Haxtun said that the weekend was pretty slow for them because of moisture in the area, but that harvest had advanced to about 55 percent complete. Moisture content averaged 11.5 percent, test weight had improved a bit to an average of 59.5 pounds per bushel, protein was still good at 12.5 percent, and most yields were still in the 10 to 40 bushels per acre range.
A Haxtun wheat farmer only had 10 acres left to go but it had been too wet and tough to finish this weekend (after ¼ inch of rain) and he doubted they would be able to cut it yet today. Moisture content had dropped to eight percent, his yields were 12 to 15 bushels per acre in the continuous crop wheat, with summer fallow wheat yielding better at 30 to 35 bushels per acre. Test weight averaged 58 pounds per bushel.
Another Haxtun family farm was also holding off on harvest this morning but hoped to get in the field this afternoon. They had .15” of rain and the weather had been cool, cloudy and damp. They thought harvest was about 75 percent complete in the area, with their farm a little behind that pace. Yields had been 34 to 42 bushels per acre, test weights 54 to 61 pounds per bushel (widely ranging in the same field and sometimes in the same variety), and moisture content was 10 percent.
Colorado winter wheat production in 2013 is projected at only 49,500,000 bushels (based on the USDA’s estimate of yield on July 11, 2013), down 33 percent from 73,780,000 bushels produced last year, and down 31 percent from the 10-year average crop of 71,978,000 bushels.
The estimate for the 2013 Colorado winter wheat crop is based upon only 1,500,000 acres being harvested (which is the lowest harvested acres since 1965) with an average yield of 33.0 bushels per acre. This compares with 2,170,000 acres harvested last year and the 10-year average of 2,122,000 acres harvested and an average yield of 34 bushels per acre last year and the 10-year average yield of 33.4 bushels per acre.
An estimated 2,200,000 acres were planted last fall for harvest in 2013, compared with 2,350,000 acres planted for harvest in 2012 and the 10-year average of 2,395,000 acres planted for harvest.
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Photo: CSU Crops Testing combine (partially financed with CWAC funds) cutting test plots at Roggen.