2013 wheat crop generated record bushels in county

Ideal conditions before and during led to a record wheat harvest in Marion County in 2013. Cooperative Grain &?Supply, with receiving locations in Hillsboro, Marion, Lehigh, Canada and Canton, took in more than 4.61 million bushels. Farmers in this area may have produced a record wheat crop, although the records to verify that aren?t all available yet.

Several producers in the Marion area last week cited individual field yields easily in the 60 bushels per acre range with some verifications of 70-bushel wheat and some quiet smiles about totals even higher.

Most of them recalled times from their youth when yields of 30 to 40 bushels per acre were considered excellent, and yields of 20 bushels were considered satisfactory.

Dick Tippin, marketing specialist with Cooperative Grain & Supply based in Hillsboro, is verifying superior yields. During the recent harvest, CG&S received 4,615,484 bushels at its elevators in Marion and McPherson counties.

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.

The total bushels received at CG&S in 2013 were: 1,235,871 at the elevator in Hillsboro; 113,341 in the bunker at Hillsboro; 510,280 at Lehigh; 1,090,724 at Marion; 1,318,711 at Canton, and 346,557 at Canada.

The grain was received in high daily quantities beginning about June 20, with the highest quantity of 178,005 bushels received at Hillsboro and 187,322 bushels at Canton?both on June 24.

Brad Bartel, vice president of Emprise Bank in Hillsboro, said the most notable economic effect in the short time since the completion of harvest has been farmers ?paying down? their bank credit lines.

Beyond that, he said, most farmers are simply too busy to do much else, with higher volumes of wheat straw being baled and the hope that rain received Thursday will raise yields on corn, soybeans and other fall crops.

Some of the wheat straw that was baled may be trucked west, with farmers there short on cattle feed while they deal with dismal wheat yields from a drought-stricken crop.

Bill Spiegel, Kansas Wheat Commission communications manager, said Kansas was divided into the ?haves and have-nots? in terms of wheat yields, with the ?haves? situated east of Kansas Highway 14 through Sterling, Lyons and Beloit and the ?have-nots? to the west.

For the ?have-nots,? yields were ranging from ?barely worth cutting? in the northwest part of the state to yields of 20 to 30 bushels an acre in the Garden City-Dodge City area in the southwest.

Larry Goerzen, grain coordinator for Mid Kansas Coopera?tive based in Moundridge, verified that wheat yields declined going further west, but approached phenomenal levels in this part of the state.

Yields up to 100 bushels an acre were reported, with an average of 60 bushels and many fields in the 70 to 80-bushel range.

Goerzen said that in the cooperative group served by MKC? from Sedgwick and Butler counties in the south to as far north as Clay County?the wheat bushels received was 10 percent higher than expected and 50 percent above average.

In Marion County, MKC has elevators in Burns, Florence, Goessel and Peabody.

Goerzen also leads Team Marketing Alliance, which serves as the marketing representative for MKC, CG&S and two other entities: Farmers Cooper?ative Elevator in Hal?stead, and Farmers Cooperative in Nicker?son.

With favorable weather conditions, wheat yields are widely expected to continue to increase with favorable weather conditions because of the development of higher-yielding varieties with increasing disease resistance.

For example, Jorge Dubkov?sky, plant pathologist at Kansas State University, is part of a team that has identified genetics that may help eliminate wheat stem rust.

Most researchers are pointing out the challenge of keeping wheat protein levels up as yields increase, as was evidenced by some declining protein levels in this year?s crop.

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