Harvest is moving along well, according to reports from Two Rivers Co-op in Arkansas City and from the Valley Co-op branches at Hackney, Kellogg and New Salem in Winfield.
Two Rivers general manager Kevin Kelly said Tuesday afternoon that as of closing time Monday, the co-op had taken in over one million bushels of wheat. “Harvest is progressing rapidly,” Kelly said. “We are about 75 percent done. The test weight is excellent, the yield is excellent, the protein on the low side.”
Wheat grown in western Kansas has higher protein levels because of the hot, dry climate in which it is grown, Kelly said. The local cool, damp spring weather affects the protein, he said. “It’s not the whole story; variety and nutrition influence it, too.”
Kelly said the cropping environment has changed dramatically in the last 15 to 20 years. “We used to take in about three million bushels of wheat a season,” Kelly said. “But with Freedom to Farm and other acts, now we have cotton, corn, milo and beans. Wheat is almost a minor crop.”
He said for their feed mill in Ark City, they used to have to bring in corn and milo. “Now there’s an excess,” he said.
Harvest results at the Valley Coop branches vary according to location.
At Hackney the woman who answered the phone said, “We are swamped. I don’t have time to talk with you right now.”
The man answering the phone at Kellogg said, “We’re in pretty high gear. There’s lots of grain.”
Kellogg branch manager Terril Mettling said they’ve taken in 88,000 bushels of “excellent” wheat so far with good, heavy bushel weight.
Hackney has taken in so much wheat that they are full to overflowing, Mettling said.
“We’re sending over a couple of men to bring wheat from there,” he said. Kellogg is just starting that process, so the wheat number Mettling gave is for just the amount they have taken in.
He is expecting the harvest to continue for another couple of weeks.
Nick Bowman, branch manager at New Salem and Burden, said they’ve taken in 80,000 bushels at New Salem.
“They’re keeping us busy,” he said. “We’re about midway through.”
So far at Burden, they’ve taken in no wheat, though he expects the harvest around there will start in a day or so.
“East and north (of Burden) they’re just starting to cut,” Bowman said.