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Wheat harvest wraps up in Kansas

The last of the 2024 wheat is in the bin, a better-than-expected crop for Kansas.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

July 11, 2024

3 Min Read
harvested wheat
IN THE BIN: The 2024 Kansas wheat harvest is 92% complete as of July 8, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. That’s far ahead of the 55% complete this same time last year and the 72% complete benchmark five-year-average.Jennifer M. Latzke

The last bits of the 2024 Kansas wheat harvest are hitting grain bins; it’s an earlier harvest than usual and one that, by some accounts, was better than expected.

Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin spoke about this year’s “better-than-expected” crop on the “Wheat’s on Your Mind” podcast. “The fact that we are having a better crop in a lot of areas than we’ve had in the last couple of years — it is good to see,” he said. Some areas got more rain, or more timely rain, than others, and that caused widespread variability in the crop across the state.

“Even within the same county and within miles of each other, you’re seeing pretty wide ranges in yields, and overall performance from the wheat as it’s coming in,” Gilpin said on the podcast episode. “That has to do with variety, whether somebody caught a rain, whether you were hit by a freeze or whether you’re seeing disease. This is one of those crops that have it all over.”

Listen to the full episode here: wheatsonyourmind.com.

Harvest started the first week of June for many in the state. As of July 8, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 92% of the Kansas harvest is done, compared to just 55% this same time last year and 72% for the five-year average benchmark. This despite widespread on-and-off rain events throughout much of the harvest season.

Kansas Wheat reports July 8 that for much of the western third of the state, weather timing was maybe a little better this year than last year. Kansas Wheat spoke to Lori Deyoe, grain originator with Skyland Grain, Ulysses, Kan. Deyoe says snow in December made the crop, and cooler and wetter weather in May at grain fill finished the crop nicely. That is, for those farmers who did receive those rains, she added.

With a footprint that ranges from Leoti, Kan., to the southern state border, and from the western border with Colorado to Kismet, Kan., Skyland Grain sees a lot of wheat acres. This year, Deyoe reported that yields ranged from 10 to 85 bushels per acre in dryland, and 85 to 115 bushels per acre in irrigated fields — the wide range attributed to whether the field received timely moisture or not.

Test weights in the west started out at 60 pounds per bushel at the beginning of harvest, Deyoe told Kansas Wheat, but the much-needed rains dropped those test weights as grain was waiting in the field. Proteins were extremely regionalized, with a range of 10% to above 12%, according to Kansas Wheat.

Norton, Kan., farmer Chris Tanner reported he had been cutting “a phenomenal crop,” with yield between 50 and 60 bushels per acre, and test weights in the 59 to 63 pounds-per-bushel range, with protein at an ideal 12% to 14%. Tanner called the area a “sweet spot.” However, some fields had to be abandoned due to wheat streak mosaic virus, and some barley yellow dwarf virus as well.

Tanner reported to Kansas Wheat that a couple of 1.5-inch rains and smaller showers were starting to show in lower yields and test weights. Still, the region should see above-average results by the time harvest wraps this week.

Catch up with the rest of the Kansas Wheat Harvest reports online at kswheat.com.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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