The joke is often made in Southeast Kansas that wheat has become more cover than cash crop — a sentiment reinforced by year-over-year declines in wheat acreage. While wheat harvest may not be a massive undertaking like it is for the area’s western neighbors, it does set the tone for harvest success for the crops that follow.
By the first of July, wheat commissions in both Kansas and Oklahoma were reporting 90% or more harvest completion, despite wet weather in the latter weeks of June.
Kansas Wheat Commission reported that while Southeast Kansas farmers produced less wheat in the last few years, there was a slight increase in wheat acreage this year, specifically in soft red winter wheat acres.
Test weights in the southeast were reported around 61 lbs. per bushel with yields at 50 to 60 bushels per acre and around 12 to 13% moisture.
Cool weather and rain late in the season cause fusarium head blight for some producers in Southeast Kansas. The issues were mostly where double crop wheat followed corn, but the overall late season weather conditions resulted in slightly lower protein levels than the year prior.
Aside from rain, the Commission reported that fungicide application decisions played out as one of the most important differentiators with notable differences in quality and quantity between treated and untreated fields.
Oklahoma Wheat Commission’s last reported totals had test weights around 60 lbs./bu. Where wheat streak mosaic virus was an issue in areas like Blackwell and Braman, test weight averages were lower — around 58 lbs./bu.
Yields were reported from the mid 30s to mid 60s, depending on variety and location. Oklahoma’s Wheat Commission pointed to intensive managers in Northern regions of the state as reporting the highest yields, from 70 to 80 bushels per acre. Northern Oklahoma protein percentages were reported from 10.1% to 11.9% .
Specifically in the Northeast region of the state, in Afton and Miami, test weights were reported around 60 pounds with yields ranging from 40 to 50 bushels per acre.
Traditionally, soft red winter wheat grown in this area yielded and tested lower than hard red winter wheat, however, no test weight less than 60 lbs./bu. were reported for soft wheat and yields were consistently favorable.
Additionally, Oklahoma State University reported some statewide concern due to the presence of sooty mold on wheat. The mold appears as if charcoal has been sprinkled on the wheat heads.
Conditions late in the season, namely wet and humid conditions, promoted the fungal growth.
“Producers who are planning to use wheat with sooty mold for seed should treat the seeds before planting,” said Amanda de Oliveira Silva, OSU Extension small grains specialist. “Fungi such as sooty mold can negatively affect germination, resulting in lower seedling emergence.”