Alva Review-Courier -

The 2020 Wheat Harvest in Newsgram reading area `fast, furious and great'

• Some report high yields in the 70s, even 80s and test weights strong in the mid 60s


The year 2020 has been turbulent and depressing, and caused sheer madness in the U.S., thanks to the horrendous coronavirus pandemic that came from China. The entire nation's economy was severely damaged, especially with recent protests that turned deadly and turned into riots, looting and worse.

Fortunately, there is some positive local news. The 2020 wheat crop in northwest Oklahoma and south central Kansas was beyond fantastic, with high yields and test weights. The following comments from area elevator operators reflect the good news.

Jake Kelln at Dacoma Says Harvest Was `Great'

Dacoma Co-op Manager Jake Kelln said, “This is the fastest harvest I've ever been associated with. There were no delays – it was fast and furious. We started dumping grain June 4 and will finish Tuesday or Wednesday – 12-14 days start to finish.

“This is so welcome – so great – to have two bumper crops back to back! We escaped the late freeze, missed the hail. Test weights (pounds per bushel) were through the roof, averaging 64.4 with a high of 67.3,” Kelln said.

The Dacoma Co-op includes elevators at Jet, Waynoka, Freedom and Mooreland. Kelln said Dacoma's elevators alone are bringing in nearly 1.4 million bushels. Company-wide the total bushels will be 2.5 to 2.6 million bushels, he projects, and said this will be “on par with last year.”

Kelln said this 2020 wheat harvest is “better than expected.”

“The protein levels were disappointing, ranging from 7.8 to 13.3, averaging 10 percent,” Kelln said. He said this crop was not stressed (with weather, disease, etc.) which is necessary to bring up protein levels. He said Freedom and Mooreland area crops didn't have the growing conditions of their other locations, which allowed them to find “pockets of protein.”

“The mills are excited about the crop we are growing,” he said.

Kelln said he's glad he was prepared “to ship fast and furious in the beginning of harvest to maintain space in the elevator. It paid off in the end.”

Burlington Co-op Manager Robbie Newman Says Yield was `One of Best Ever'

“I knew it would be a decent crop, but yield-wise it is one of the best ever,” Burlington Co-op Manager Robbie Newman said of the 2020 hard red winter wheat crop in northwest Oklahoma just south of the Kansas border.

On the high end, Newman said some farmers reported yields near 80 bushels per acre.

“It's definitely a good year. We've already taken in more than we did last year,” he said.

He estimates cutting will conclude in the Burlington area by the weekend. With no rain, the 2020 harvest is also one of the quickest. Cutting started there June 5, according to Newman.

“Test weights were strong at 64-65 (pounds/bushel). All of it's been that way,” Newman said.

He added that the farmers with those exceptionally high yields used fungicide and fertilizer, so they had a good program and “conditions were just right.”

Newman said, “2020 will be better than an average year.” He said less wheat was planted, with many farmers planning to double crop. “We need rain.”

Campbell Says Alva Area Harvest is 85 Percent Complete

Alva Farmer's Cooperative Sales Manager Matt Campbell said their customer's cutting in the Alva area is 85 percent finished – and cutting just started a week ago.

Yields were above average, ranging from 40 to 70 bushels per acre, Campbell said. “Test weights were excellent at 60 plus (bushels/acre).” He said, “The protein was short because of cooler weather during growing time.”

The 2020 wheat crop “was better than last year,” Campbell said and noted, “There was not really any dockage.”

He said farmers planted less wheat this year and are planting crops like soybeans, mylo and sesame. “Sesame is supposed to be hearty in a drought. We'll see,” Campbell said of this area that really needs rain.

With good yields this harvest, Campbell said, “Now if the price can get up. Wheat closed at $4.13 (per bushel) today.”

Crop Also Great North of the Border in Kiowa-Area

This is Ernie Theilen's first harvest as the manager of the O.K. Grain Cooperative in Kiowa, Kansas. This also includes elevators in Hardtner, Hazelton and Corwin.

“It's gone pretty fast and fairly smooth,” Theilen said. O.K. Grain took in their first wheat June 7 and Theilen estimates cutting is 65 to 70 percent complete in this area.

He said grain yields are averaging 55 to 60 bushels per acre with some reports in the 80, which is phenomenal. Test weights are consistently strong at 63 and 64 pounds per bushel.

The high yielding wheat equals low protein levels of 10 or lower, Theilen said. “We're giving a protein premium for 11 or higher.”

He's been told there's less wheat planted in this area than usual. Many farmers have planted soybeans and a few other crops. They all need rain. Theilen was looking at the weather on his phone and said there's an 80 percent chance Friday night and 50 percent chance Sunday.

When asked to sum up his first harvest in Kiowa, Theilen said. “I'm happy with it overall. We moved trucks in and out with little wait time.” The majority of trucks these days are semis. “ We appreciate the farmers who brought us their grain and hope they'll use us again.”

Cherokee Co-op's Grain Intake Better Than Last Year

Cherokee Co-op bookkeeper Debbie Stoner said harvest in that area, “is going good.”

Yields range from 50-70 bushels per acre, Stoner said. Test weights have averaged 63-65 and a few reports up to 67 pounds/bushel.

So far Cherokee's Co-op has brought in over 1.3 million bushels which Stoner said is “a lot better than last year.” They took in their first load of wheat June 4. Stoner said most of the custom cutters are finished, but some locals are still cutting. “We should be wrapped up by Thursday or Friday,” she said.

Jay at Wheeler Brothers Says Harvest was `Very, Very Good'

When asked how wheat harvest is going, Wheeler Brothers Manager Jay Lohmann said, “very, very busy.” Wheeler Brothers had their first load of grain brought in June 3 and on June 16 he said their customers are 90 percent done. “The weather cooperated,” he said.

Yields averaged 47 bushels to the acre with the highest yields reported “in the high 80s,” Lohmann said. “Test weights averaged 63 (pounds/bushel) which is very very good.”

Wheeler Brothers intake of grain so far is very comparable to last year, but less wheat planted, according to Lohmann. Looking at the statistics for the territory Wheeler Brothers serves, Lohmann said the wheat harvested is 83 percent of normal.

“Sesame is going to be a big deal,” Lohmann said of an alternative crop local farmers are planting. To plant sesame, inputs are less and your return is more if everything works right. Sesame is more drought tolerant than wheat, he said.

When asked about the top performers of wheat varieties, Lohmann listed Double Stop (CL Plus); and Ruby Lee as the top two. He said WB4458 also performed well.

“I'm just glad everyone had a safe, prosperous harvest. We'd just like the price to go up!”


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