Tag Archives: wheat

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Helping those who serve in wheat organization leadership roles develop a better understanding of entire milling process was the focus of the IGP–KSU Flour Milling for State Wheat Commissioners and Staff course held December 17–19, 2018. Sixteen participants representing five state and national wheat organizations experienced hands-on training at the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the Shellenberger Hall milling and baking labs.

“During the course, the participants learned in-depth about the six U.S. wheat classes and how each class affects the milling and baking processes, and flour quality,” says Shawn Thiele, IGP Institute interim associate director and flour milling and grain processing curriculum manager.

Class discussions and labs focused on milling processes, wheat selection and flour blending for baking functionality. Participants learned about how quality impacts all aspects of the milling and baking processes.

“It has been valuable for me to see how the quality of wheat that I raise on my farm affects the miller and baker and the products they make for their customers,” says Justin Knopf, wheat farmer from Salina, Kansas and a leader with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.

He adds, “I now have a better understanding of, and appreciation for, what wheat goes through after it leaves my farm, the complexity of the milling process, and the science that goes into milling and baking.”

This is one example of the many customized grain processing and flour milling courses offered by the IGP Institute. In addition, the IGP Institute provides training’s in the areas of feed manufacturing and grain quality management, and grain marketing and risk management. To learn more about training opportunities at the IGP Institute, visit www.grains.k-state.edu/igp.

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Over the past two years, the breadbasket of America has planted less and less wheat.

Acres planted to wheat in 2017 and 2018 neared 100-year lows, with last year’s 7.7 million wheat acres hitting the lowest point in 60 years. Low prices and a wheat surplus moved farmers away from the Kansas staple. This year, those problems combined with a delayed fall harvest and unfavorable weather to push wheat acres to what could be the lowest point in a century.

“Also this fall in addition to low prices, we had very wet weather which delayed planting, and for many farmers, they simply could not plant wheat,” said Lane County wheat farmer Vance Ehmke to The Hutchinson News .

Wet weather delayed planting in a couple of ways. It kept tractors and grain drills out of fields that were too soft, but also kept combines and grain carts out of the fields. Some farmers who planned to plant wheat following grain sorghum or soybeans didn’t have time to plant once harvest was over. Many were harvesting late into November.

Ehmke believes Kansas will see a 100-year low in planted wheat, because of delays from wet weather and the effects of the weather itself.

“My personal bet is that for the 2019 crop we will have the lowest acreage in over 100 years and will not harvest even 7 million acres,” Ehmke said. “We had fewer acres planted plus abandonment will be much higher than the normal 10 percent because many stands, especially in North Central, Central and South Central Kansas, are poor because of wet and cold weather.”

Unplanted acres that were meant for wheat won’t stay that way. Farmers will likely plant the fields to soybeans, grain sorghum or other fall harvested crops. Ehmke also expects to see a rise in triticale acres, a sort of wheat/rye combination. Ehmke said Kansas farmers planted 170,000 acres of triticale last year for hay, silage or grazing. He expects those numbers to increase in 2019.

“I guess everything I have said centers around the old saying that the cure for low prices is low prices,” Ehmke said. “If farmers don’t make any money doing something, they eventually quit doing it, and as is the case with wheat, when they cut back on production, surpluses disappear and prices go back up.”

While recent surpluses and low prices have driven Kansas farmers away from wheat, a report from a former Kansas State University Extension wheat marketing specialist outlined that Western Kansas farmers have been losing money on wheat for some time.

Bill Tierney, who now works as a market analyst for Ag Resource in Chicago, authored the report using data from Agri Benchmark. Participants in the Agri Benchmark network use standard procedures to best replicate the “standard” farm in their country or region.

The data used by Tierney compares wheat growers in Western Kansas to those in Australia, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and more. The study looks at cost of production, yield and prices for the average farm in each country from 2013 to 2016.

The data shows that while Western Kansas enjoyed one of the highest prices for wheat — at around $5.41 per bushel — it also had one of the highest average costs of production over the four-year period at $5.69 per bushel.

Tierney said U.S. farmers may see better export prices due to cheaper freight costs.

“I think that overall, U.S. farmers enjoy relatively low total logistical costs (per mile to a Freight on Board terminal) compared to some other major exporters,” he said. “That means that the US farmer captures more of the FOB price paid for wheat.”

But with lower average yields and higher costs of production, the report notes that from 2013 to 2016 the average Western Kansas wheat producer lost around 12 cents per acre — before low prices and unfavorable weather hit.

Ehmke doesn’t expect Kansas farmers to stop growing wheat. As there is less wheat, he expects prices to rise. Those prices could get very interesting in 2019, he said.

“A wise old man once told me that there is a reason why wheat goes to six dollars,” Ehmke said. “You ain’t got any!”

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Low prices and a surplus of wheat have moved farmers away from the Kansas staple for the past two years.

Now the wet weather that has kept growers out of their fields planting time this fall could further push the state’s winter wheat acres toward the lowest point in a century.

The Hutchinson News reported acres planted to wheat in 2017 and 2018 neared 100-year lows. Last year’s 7.7 million wheat acres hit the lowest point in 60 years.

Winter wheat is planted in the fall in Kansas. The wet weather that delayed wheat planting also slowed down fall harvest of other crops.

Some farmers who planned to plant wheat following grain sorghum or soybeans didn’t have time to plant once harvest was over. Many were harvesting late into November.

Wheat acres in Kansas will likely be lower than last year, possibly reaching 100-year lows in the state. Last year’s 7.7 million planted acres were the third lowest in a century.
Abnormal weather patterns in October and November contributed to the decrease in acres planted. According to the Kansas Mesonet, there was record precipitation throughout the state in October and below average temperatures in November.
This has led to the state being essentially drought-free for the first time in years, but it also kept farmers out of the fields during fall harvest and wheat drilling time.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that for the week ending December 2, 2018, topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 76 adequate, and 20 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 6 short, 83 adequate, and 11 surplus. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions in Kansas on November 27, 2018 of only 6.2% abnormally dry and 0.5% in moderate drought. None of the state is in severe drought or worse.
USDA/NASS also reports that fall harvest is mostly complete, with corn harvest at 96%, soybean harvest at 95% and grain sorghum harvest at 89%.
But, wheat should’ve been planted by the end of October in most areas of the state, and at that time, soybean harvest was only 63% complete and grain sorghum harvest was only 49% complete. This kept farmers from planting wheat behind soybeans in a common double-crop situation.
At the November 29 board meeting of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Wheat Commission, farmer board members reported on wheat planted acreage in their areas this fall.
In West Central/Southwest Kansas, Rick Horton, who farms in Wichita and Kearney Counties, reported that the moisture profile in the area is good. While wheat acreage overall might be up a little in the area, traditional fallow acres are still down about the same as last year.
Ron Suppes, who farms in Lane County, reported that acres are down a little in his area, but some farmers were still trying to drill wheat at the end of November. He said that there is still some grain sorghum left to cut and that most of the wheat is emerged.
In Northwest Kansas, Brian Linin, who farms in Sherman County, reported that acres are similar to the past, and the wheat looks really good. He shared that there is uncharacteristic moisture in the area and the snow is just a boost to that moisture. He did share a concern about the likelihood of Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in the area.
Chris Tanner, who farms in Norton County, estimates that fall harvest is only 60% complete in the county. He said wheat acres are down, but early planted wheat looks nice. He said farmers were still drilling wheat in the area as of the end of November.
In North Central Kansas, Mike McClellan, who farms in Rooks County, estimates that wheat acres are down 1/3 from last year. He said that farmers weren’t able to get many wheat acres in behind soybeans.
Mike Jordan, who farms in Mitchell County, agreed. He said most people would have had to stop harvesting fall crops to plant wheat, so he estimates acres will be down 25% in Mitchell County.
In Central Kansas, David Radenberg from Barton County reported that acres are also down in his area, and that grain sorghum harvest is not complete.
Doug Keesling, who farms in Rice County, agreed that acres are down in central Kansas, estimating a decrease of 5-15% from last year. He reported that most of the decrease came from acres that were to be planted behind soybeans, because farmers weren’t able to get their beans harvested and wheat planted.
Justin Knopf, who farms in Saline County, estimates acres planted will be only 60-70% of last year, mostly because they didn’t get planted behind soybeans.
Ken Wood, who farms in Dickenson County, estimates that acres are down 25-30%, stating that farmers gave up on planting wheat because of the poor weather conditions. All four central Kansas farmers reported that they are still finishing up soybean and grain sorghum harvest in the area.
In South Central Kansas, John Hildebrand, who farms in Stafford County, reported that the early planted wheat in the area doesn’t look very good, and that late planted wheat is not yet emerged. He said wheat acres are down, and there is still grain sorghum left to cut.
Scott Van Allen, who farms in Sedgwick and Summer Counties, reported that early planted wheat in his area looks nice, and the late planted is only 1/2″ tall. He said that there was no double crop wheat planted behind soybeans in his area, estimating that acres are down 5-10%. There are still soybeans and grain sorghum left to cut.
In Northeast Kansas, Jay Armstrong, who farms in Atchison County, reported that wheat looks good in his area and that acres are up a little over last year.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that for the week ending December 2, 2018, winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 13 poor, 39 fair, 35 good, and 10 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 89 percent.
K-State Research and Extension reports that leaf rust is causing problems for some wheat producers in Kansas this fall with reports of wide spread infections in volunteer wheat and the early planted fields in western and central regions of the state. They also report that the sudden, sharp drop in temperatures across Kansas observed in the early part of November 2018 could have different consequences to the wheat crop, varying from no impact to some injury in particular fields. This injury could depend on the amount of snow on the surface and the amount of moisture in the soil, which serves as a buffer against cold temperatures.
With all the wheat crop has already endured, we are still a couple weeks away from the beginning of winter, and the condition of the 2019 wheat crop will continue to evolve until harvest next summer. While planted acres are down overall, at least the crop has the opportunity to begin its fragile life with adequate moisture.

LAS VEGAS, /PRNewswire/ — The Water Systems Council (WSC) has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) that provides a foundation for collaboration on future joint projects and initiatives.

WSC executive director Margaret Martens and NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse, CIC, signed the MOU following the first day of the Groundwater Summit in Las Vegas.

WSC and NGWA leadership participated in a strategy session in early November at NGWA headquarters in Westerville, Ohio, to develop joint visionary goals that include:

  • Advocate and defend property owners’ rights to access groundwater.
  • Develop a strategy to maintain the labor force.
  • Assure implementation of wells and aquifers as a safe, reliable, and cost-effective solution to the nation’s water infrastructure.

“WSC and NGWA have historically worked together on issues of joint interest as strong advocates for the water well industry and groundwater professionals,” said Martens. “This MOU further formalizes our partnership and brings new resources to our efforts to promote, protect and defend water well systems and groundwater rights.”

NGWA President David Henrich, CWD/PI, CVCLD, noted that the signing of the MOU “is a great step in the right direction. NGWA and WSC working more closely together will provide even more support for the groundwater industry. WSC President Richard Mest was instrumental in keeping the momentum going to push this initiative across the finish line. I personally appreciate all the volunteers that have helped us build to this moment.”

The National Groundwater Association is a community of groundwater professionals working together to advance groundwater knowledge and the success of its members through education and outreach, advocacy, cooperation and information exchange, and enhancement of professional practices.

The Water Systems Council is the only national, nonprofit organization solely focused on household wells and small water well systems. WSC is committed to ensuring that Americans who get their water from household private wells have safe, reliable drinking water and to protecting our nation’s groundwater resources.

For more information, visit watersystemscouncil.org.