USA:Wheat harvest could break records

Although some wheat fields are producing less during the current harvest, some are producing yields that are startling, reported “Kazakh-Zerno” NA with reference to the “Fort Morgan Times“.

About 60 percent of Morgan County`s dryland wheat was harvested by the beginning of this week, and the weather over its growing cycle has made a big difference in the current yields, said Morgan County Extension Agent Marlin Eisenach. 

“These yields are exciting,” said dryland wheat grower Dan Danford. 

He`s not sure that the area has ever seen yields like this before, he said. 

Although he is only getting about 44 bushels per acre from fields which were hit by hail, those which were undamaged are yielding about 80 bushels an acre, which is almost unheard of, Danford said. 

A good yield is normally about 60 bushels per acre. 

Last fall`s storms allowed wheat to sprout properly and, except for the hail the spring brought, the weather has cooperated all the way through, Danford said. 

Dryland farming depends on nature, and when it blesses growers with plenty of moisture and heat units, as it has done this year, it makes all the difference, Eisenach said. 

Luckily, prices have also sprouted up these past few weeks, Danford said. 

They have increased by more than $1 a bushel to bring them to $4.50 to $4.75 per bushel depending on the wheat`s protein content, he said. 

“It makes for a good year,” Danford said. 

Protein content is important in seeing just how much of an advantage these huge yields bring, Eisenach said. 

Not all wheat farmers were as lucky. 

Some report that hail caused a lot of damage, although it looks like the harvest would have been good otherwise. 

How much damage came from the multiple hailstorms depended on what stage the wheat had reached when the hail came down, Eisenach said. If the hail missed the crucial flowering stage most crops did well. 

Corn is also coming along well, with much of it starting to hit the tassel stage, he said. 

Heat and moisture have made a big difference for corn, as was the case with wheat, Eisenach said. 

About 30 to 40 percent of the second alfalfa harvest is also done in Morgan County, he said. 

Statewide, about 60 percent of the winter wheat was harvested by the end of last week, with about 90 percent ripe at that time, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

That is behind the five-year average, but the crop continues to be rated in mostly good condition. 

Corn was 11 percent silked by the end of last week compared with 23 percent for the five-year average, the NASS report says. The corn crop is also rated in mostly good condition, as were sugar beets and dry onions. 

About 42 percent of the second cutting of alfalfa is done statewide, NASS says. 

At the end of last week, about 83 percent of topsoil moisture in Colorado was adequate for crop production, with 2 percent of fields having surplus moisture and only 12 percent short and 3 percent very short. Last year, about 34 percent of fields were short of topsoil moisture at this time. 

Subsoil moisture in 82 percent of Colorado fields was adequate and 1 percent surplus, with 14 percent short and 3 percent very short. However, at this time last year 39 percent of fields were short of subsoil moisture, NASS says. 

Pasture and range conditions remain in mostly good to fair condition.

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