July 9, 2014 Colorado Winter Wheat Harvest Update

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

(Note: Farmers and elevators, give me a heads-up when harvest starts in your area, please!)

Winter wheat harvest was hit and miss the last few days as rain affected much of the Eastern Plains. Rainfall amounts were mostly one inch or less but rain of up to five inches was reported south of Byers Monday night. Harvest extends from Walsh to Peetz, covering the majority of the Eastern Plains, with the far north and the Front Range just getting started, and the higher elevation areas around Limon and Genoa at least two or three days away from starting harvest. Farmers and elevator operators alike were hoping for hot, dry, 100° weather.

Colorado Wheat estimates harvest for the state today at 25 percent complete. USDA estimated harvest as of Monday at 22 percent complete, compared with 15 percent at this time last year and the five-year average of 35 percent harvested.

Skyland Grain in Walsh reported harvest wrapping up at 97 percent complete for their area. Moisture content ranged from 8 to 10 percent, test weights were mostly about 60 pounds per bushel, and reported yields were 25 to 35 bushels per acre in irrigated wheat. They described the crop in their area as a little better than last year.

A Walsh-area wheat farmer reported harvest for their farm had progressed to 70 percent complete, and they were switching over to cutting their irrigated wheat. Dryland PlainsGold Snowmass hard white winter wheat was still yielding 40 to 45 bushels per acre, moisture content was 9 to 10 percent, and test weights were good at 60 to 62 pounds per bushel. Their red winter wheat was yielding 20 to 35 bushels per acre.

Elkhart Coop in Springfield said harvest in their area will wrap up by the middle of next week.

Tempel Grain in Wiley reported harvest of dryland wheat just about done, as there wasn’t much in the area to being with, and total harvest for the area as about 85 percent complete. Moisture content was 10 percent, and test weights were good, averaging 61 pounds per bushel. Irrigated yields varied, but they were seeing some at 50 bushels per acre.

A Brandon area wheat farmer was about 50 percent done with harvest on their farm, and was hoping for some 100° temperatures to hasten the process. This morning the temperature at 8:00 a.m. was 70°, very atypical for this time of year, and yesterday’s high temperature was only 85°. They were cutting a lot of wheat that had been affected by wind, hail, drought, or all three. Moisture content was 12 to 14 percent, test weight averaged 62 pounds per bushel, protein ranged from 11.5 to 13 percent, and yields in the best wheat were 18 to 20 bushels per acre. They had received some rain showers and weren’t expecting to be able to harvest until noon.

Cargill-Cheyenne Wells said harvest was about 75 percent complete for their southern intake area and 30 percent for their northern intake area. Showers early yesterday morning between 1 to 3 a.m. were slowing some farmers down. Moisture content was slightly higher at 12 to 16 percent. Test weights were as high as 64, but averaged 61.5 pounds per bushel. Protein content was still high at 12.5 to 13.5 percent. Yields being reported were as high as 65 bushels per acre in dryland wheat from north of Cheyenne Wells, and as low 3 to 15 bushels per acre from the south.

Cargill-Burlington said they were hopeful harvest would pick up this afternoon as it was slow this morning. There had been some rain in the area and the only farmers harvesting yesterday were in their far northeast intake area. Moisture content averaged 11.3 percent. Average test weight was 62.3 pounds per bushel. Protein content averaged 13.3 percent. Yields ranged from 6 bushels per acre in hail-damaged wheat to 75 bushel per acre irrigated wheat. Harvest is about 25 percent complete for their area.

Cargill-Byers said harvest had been spotty the last few days, and most of the wheat they were receiving had come from north of Last Chance, in an area that had missed out on the rain Monday night. Byers had received 1 inch of rain, Bennett had received 1.5 inch of rain, and up to 5 inches of rain were reported south of Byers. Custom cutters are expected to move into the area this afternoon. The wheat they were receiving had moisture content of 11 to 13 percent, test weight was 60-61 pounds per bushel, and protein content over 12 percent. Harvest is only one to two percent complete for that area.

Custom harvesters cutting a few miles west of Cope today reported test weights right at 60 pounds per bushel and moisture content at 13 percent. They reported it was hard to get a handle on yields, because parts of the field got hail, and parts looked like 60 bushel per acre wheat.

CHS Yuma reports that harvest has progressed to about 20 percent complete for their area. Moisture content averaged 11.7 percent, test weight averaged 63.5 pounds per bushel, protein averaged 12.5 percent, and reported yields were 50 to 60 bushels per acre. There had been some rain in the area yesterday, and they were hoping for a big day today before moisture was predicted again for the area.

Wheat harvest near Yuma, July 9.

Wheat harvest near Yuma, July 9.

A Yuma area farmer reported a “great harvest so far,” with moisture content 12 to 13 percent, test weight at 63 pounds per bushel, protein content at 13 percent, and yields of 50 to 60 bushels per acre in their PlainsGold variety Byrd.

CHS Grainland in Holyoke and Haxtun took their first loads on the 1st of July. There was spotty moisture in the area yesterday, with harvest slow until the afternoon. Moisture content averaged 12.24 percent, test weight averaged 63 pounds per bushel, protein was 12.2 percent, and yields ranged from a hail-damaged 10 bushels per acre to a small field that yielded 80 bushels per acre. Expected yield average was 40 bushels per acre. Harvest is about 15 percent complete for their area.

A Haxtun area wheat farmer was about 50 percent done with harvest on their farm. Their entire farm had been affected by hail storms, dropping yields to 15 to 25 bushels per acre, with areas where they could see “40 bushels on the ground.” Test weights were 62 pounds per bushel, moisture content 12 percent, and protein 13 percent and higher.

The Peetz Coop in far-north Colorado received their first load on Monday, and have been getting about 3 or 4 loads per day, so harvest is barely started in their area. They expect harvest to be in full swing next Monday or Tuesday. Moisture content was 10.5 to 12.5 percent, test weight averaged 62 pounds per bushel, protein was low at 9 percent, and yields were reported at 35 bushels per acre.

Roggen Farmers’ Elevator had said harvest was barely started for the area, with 100 loads accepted Monday and Tuesday. Wheat coming in currently was from the sandy soil areas. Protein was 12 percent, test weight 59 pounds per bushel, and moisture content 11 percent. They expect to be seeing the better wheat next Monday and Tuesday.

A Roggen family farm started harvest on Sunday but hadn’t been in the field yet this morning because of the humidity. Moisture content so far had ranged from 9 to 14 percent, test weight was 62 pounds per bushel, and protein was 11 percent. So far they had been harvesting the variety PlainsGold Byrd and the yield had been 58 bushels per acre.

USDA’s June 11 estimate for winter wheat production in Colorado is 89.25 million bushels. This forecast almost doubles last year’s drought-reduced production of 44.28 million bushels. This production report does not consider the updated harvested acreage estimate included below.

Acreage for harvest, estimated at 2.4 million acres in USDA’s June 30 Acreage Report estimate, is up 760,000 acres from 1.64 million acres last year. Average yield is forecast at 35.0 bushels per acre, up 8.0 bushels per acre from last year’s yield of 27.0 bushels per acre. USDA’s average yield and production estimate will be updated in the July 11 Crop Production report.

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