Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Friday, June 30, 2017

By the Numbers: Wheat Harvest 2017

Wheat Harvest 2017 is now in the rearview mirror.
Photo taken June 22, 2017
We finished up the afternoon of June 28 after starting on June 12. This year's start to harvest was pretty consistent with the past eight years. (I have good records since 2010 because I've been blogging that long). Our start dates are:

2010:  June 18
2011:  June 10
2012:  May 26 (an anomaly and the earliest harvest, by far, we've ever had)
2013:  June 21
2014:  June 17
2015:  June 20
2016:  June 15
2017:  June 12

It took us 2 weeks and 3 days to bring in the 1,341.7 acres planted to wheat. Some years, we have a custom cutter harvest a portion of our wheat acres. However, we bought a new-to-us combine at a farm auction in the spring of 2016, and we're still paying off the loan for that. Plus, the wheat prices don't leave a lot of margin for profits. So we decided to cut it all ourselves.
Photo taken June 22, 2017
Our overall average was 50.84 bushels per acre. We had a low average of 30 and a high of 80 bushels per acre. After a dry winter and early spring, Randy was thrilled with the totals. Some late spring rains came at just the right time for the filling of the wheat heads, and we are thankful! 

Wheat Harvest 2017 actually started with Wheat Harvest 2016. (Notice how I capitalize Wheat Harvest. It's a "Big Deal" to our farm. By far, wheat is our biggest crop.)
Photo from June 16, 2016, blog post
Each year, we plant some certified seed, which we use for seed wheat for the following year. Randy binned KanMark (a K-State release) and WB 4458 (a WestBred variety) to plant for seed wheat for our 2017 crop. During the 2016 harvest, we binned the seed wheat in on-farm storage.
Then, last July, we took the wheat to be cleaned to Miller Seed Farms. (See blog post: A Kernel of the Process: Cleaning Seed Wheat.)
In late September and early October 2016, we began planting wheat for our 2017 crop. 
Planting into the sunset, October 2016
21 - 17 - 0.  I refreshed my memory on the Farm Wife Secret Code as I hauled fertilizer tanks from the Zenith branch of the Kanza Co-op to the field and back again.
By mid-October 2016, the wheat was emerging and was off to a good start. See blog post: And So It Begins Again.
In February 2017, the Kanza Co-op applied nitrogen fertilizer and Finesse herbicide.
In early April, we were thankful for Sunshine and Muddy Tennis Shoes - some rain after a very dry winter.
By April 21, we were Heading Toward Harvest. The wheat was heading, and according to an old wives' tale, we were 6 weeks away from harvest. It turned out to be about right.
By early June, we were at that "awkward stage" - the wheat ... not the "model."
This year's overall average of 50.84 bushels per acre made it our second best crop ever. Our 2013 crop averaged 52 bushels per acre and proved the theory that wheat has nine lives.

Yield averages in the past few years have been:

2010: 37.2 bu/acre
2011: 36.7 bu/acre
2012: 45.5 bu/acre
2013: 52 bu/acre
2014: 24.5 bu/acre
2015: 50 bu/acre
2016: 48.5 bu/acre
2017: 50.84 bu/acre
And that, as they say in show business, is a wrap.

THE END ... until a new beginning for Wheat 2018.


  1. Kim,

    The first and last pictures are awesome!

    From the history report you shared, I'd say yea for a great wheat crop. 2013 must have been "perfect" in all ways and this year close to it.

    I like your Winter Wheat 2017 re-cap. A good reminder to you and Randy, educational to your readers and interesting to those of us non-farmers.

    PS-We got .41" of rain yesterday morning. We have hay down, but not worried about it getting wet. Sounds like we are in for a heat wave next week.

    1. I'm glad you got a little rain! The guys began putting hay down this week after we wrapped up harvest on Wednesday afternoon. There should be some ready to bale tomorrow AM. Our corn is tasseling, so it would be nice to have some rain on it, but not on the hay. It's the dichotomy of farming, I guess.

  2. So pleased that all the hard work has been rewarded!

    1. We were pleasantly surprised by the yields this year after a dry winter. Our only winter moisture was an ice storm.

  3. You have had a good harvest judging by your records. I bet that put a big smile on Randy's face.

    1. Yes. We are happy with the results, and it's always good to get it done. They've moved on to the 2nd cutting of hay now.