Wheat Harvest 2015: Fast harvest finds good spring wheat

Wheat Harvest 2015: Fast harvest finds good spring wheat

Wind-flattened wheat fields yielding well on the Northern Plains

The spring wheat harvest in North Dakota is moving fast as hot, dry conditions have allowed crews to work deep into the night, custom harvesters said this week.

Yields continue to range from 50 to 60 bushels per acre, with instances of 70. Test weights have been at or above 60 pounds a bushel. Even the wheat blown over by last month's wind storm is yielding well.

"It is going very fast. Everybody is rolling," said harvester Chad Brink, who was cutting near Minot, N.D. "I would say the spring wheat will be close to being wrapped up next week."

Brink said the blown over wheat was yielding 50 to 60 bushels even with losses of 30% in places. "Just think of what that crop could have been," he said.

Wind-flattened wheat fields yielding well on the Northern Plains

Other harvesters had similar reports of good yields and test weights. Some vomitoxin was found in a few fields, but did not appear to be widespread.

Harvester Mike Strunk, who also was operating near Minot, said most fields there had been treated with fungicides to prevent vomitoxin, although there were a few instances of tainted wheat showing up.

"We should be done with the spring wheat by the end of the month," said Strunk.

In Belfield in southwest North Dakota, combines were moving fast through fields as the hot, dry weather allowed for continuous harvesting.

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"We are averaging 4 to 5 hours of sleep," said Janel Wolf, who said crews will be grateful for a break if the forecasted rain arrives.

Yields of 60 to 70 bushels have been common, with test weights of 62 to 63 pounds, she said.

Also, Wolf said some custom harvesters have finished with the wheat and moved south to prepare for harvesting of fall crops. Wolf's crew will move north near the Canadian border next week.

In North Dakota, USDA said spring wheat harvest was 45% done as of Sunday compared with the 26% average. South Dakota's harvest was at 71% versus the 66% average, while Montana's was at 43% versus the 19% average.

USDA forecast South Dakota spring wheat production at 64.4 million bushels with an average yield of 47. It has North Dakota spring wheat at 297.6 million bushels on 48 bushels per acre versus 2014's 291.65 million and 47.5 yield.

In Montana, spring wheat was forecast at 85.25 million bushels on 2.75 million acres, for an average yield of 31. In 2014, the state produced 104.3 million bushels on 2.98 million acres.

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