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Wheat harvest surprisingly good

Staff writer

Farmers around Peabody were finishing wheat harvest Friday with yields averaging between 40 and 45 bushels per acre, said Phil Timken, Peabody location manager for Mid-Kansas Cooperative Association.

“Most farmers were pleasantly surprised with the yields and the quality,” Timken said.

Stan Utting, general manager of Agri-Producers Inc. in Tampa, estimated yields were up to 10 bushels per acre more than farmers expected.

Farmers were concerned that yields would be below average because of the dry spring. He estimated that the average yield historically was about 38 bushels per acre.

“It was a good year, a good harvest,” he said. “We’ve had three good harvests in a row.”

In addition to good yields, the wheat was generally good quality. Most truck loads met the standard of 60 pounds per bushel at which prices are set. The wheat also was pretty clean, said Charlene Pschigoda of Cooperative Grain and Supply in Lehigh. The co-op hadn’t had to dock prices much for having foreign material in the wheat.

Hillsboro farmer Don Funk was harvesting wheat Friday morning west of Hillsboro, and he thought he could be done harvesting before the weekend.

“If I have as good of a day today as I had yesterday, I’ll finish today,” Funk said. “It’s been an amazing crop.”

He estimated his yields had averaged 45 to 46 bushels per acre. Despite the good yields, he did have some concerns about the harvest.

The test weights on his harvest weren’t quite at the 60-pound standard, and wheat prices had dropped substantially since the harvest began.

Prices were above $8 per bushel at the beginning of June, but had fallen below $7.50 per bushel by Friday. Timken said $8 would certainly be preferable, but farmers can make money with $7 wheat.

Yields in the northern portion of the county were mostly in the range of 40 to 50 bushels per acre, Utting said Tuesday. And most test weights were 59 pounds or more per bushel. He said he didn’t expect those figures to change much.

“Harvest is all but done,” Utting said.

Last modified June 29, 2011

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