Record wheat harvest tops 4 million bushels

By Friday, the bunker was reaching its capacity. With an estimated 80 percent of fields cut as of Monday morning, local grain handlers are calling the 2013 wheat harvest one of the best ever.

?It?s more than we?ve received before,? Dick Tippin, grain coordinator for Cooperative Grain & Supply said about the results. ?It is a good yield.?

With elevators in Canada, Canton, Hillsboro, Lehigh and Marion, Tippin said CG&S had received just over 4 million bushels as of Monday.

That exceeds the 3.5 million bushels brought in during last summer?s strong crop. During the four years prior to that one, CG&S averaged about 2.53 million bushels per harvest.

This aerial view of ?Mount Wheat? was taken from the top of CG&S grain silo. The two semi-trucks represent the final two loads before the bunker was declared full. Courtesy photo by Al Isaac.Visual evidence of the bumper crop is the mountain of wheat temporarily being stored in the outdoor bunker at the Hillsboro elevator.

Tippin said in addition to yields between 50 and 80 bushels per acre commonly reported by local producers, a shortage of transport trucks contributed to the need for outdoor storage.

?The wheat?s been good all over in this area in the Mid?west.? he said. ?We?ve had a hard time getting enough trucks to move the grain out, so that?s one reason for the pile.?

Tippin said area producers planted more acres of wheat last fall after double-cropping last year?s fields with soybeans, which also contributed to the bountiful bushels.

CG&S workers Matt Wiebe (left) and Tracy Bihlmaier, elevator supervisor, monitor the unloading process Thursday at the outdoor storage bunker. This year?s crop was of good quality with an average test weight of between 60 and 62. Tippin said the protein content was slightly lower at 11 to 11.5, but ?that?s kind of expected with better yields.?

Tippin said the mountain of wheat in the Hillsboro bunker won?t remain there for long.

?We?re shipping out now to terminals in Wichita and Hutch?inson,? he said. ?The plan is to move it pretty quickly.?

With perfect cutting weather all of last week, Tippin said CG&S workers were hustling to keep pace with the harvest.

?Normally we get a rain delay, and we haven?t had that,? he said. ?It gives us a day or so to get caught up, ship out grain and make more room. We just haven?t had that this year.

?But the guys have done real well.?

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