Wheat harvest in final stages of completion
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
This year’s wheat crop will be remembered as one for the ages.
Farmers are reporting exceptional yields on both dryland and irrigated wheat.
Harvest of the dryland wheat crop has been completed in the area for the most part, leaving just the irrigated to come in.
This year’s cool and wet conditions that began in early June not only salvaged the wheat crop but turned it into a yield buster.
Dryland yields ran as high as triple digits with the irrigated wheat running consistently in triple digits.
Yields as high as 130 bushels per acre have been reported on irrigated wheat, both in hard red winter and hard white winter varieties.
With new varieties of white wheat emerging that are not as susceptible to sprout damage, white wheat production is rebounding.
Scott Way, production manager for Luhrs Certified Seed and Conditioning, said a new variety of white wheat yielded 114 bushels per acre on dryland near Grant.
Way said hot weather over the weekend and early this week has pushed along the irrigated wheat harvest.
He said they got seven pivots of seed wheat in the first two days of the week.
Temperatures over the weekend got as high at 103°F and were in the high 90s early this week.
Some rain fell in the Imperial area Wednesday morning, ranging from .35 of an inch to as much as an inch.
That will delay the irrigated wheat harvest but rain is always welcome, regardless of the work at hand.
Because of the wet June, it wasn’t unusual for irrigated fields to develop weed issues. As a result, some farmers swathed their irrigated wheat, leaving it in windrows for the weeds to dry out before picking it up.
The swathing also helped alleviate some maturity issues where the head was ready but the stalks were still green. The stalks dried down in the windrow, along with the weeds.
Standability always represents a concern with high-yielding, irrigated wheat.
In fields where numerous rains had downed the wheat, farmers relied on a special stripper header that strips the head from the stalk.
This alleviates having to cut so close to the ground to get the downed wheat as compared to a conventional wheat head. It also reduces the amount of straw that has to be run through the combine.