A lot of progress was made this past week for wheat harvest in Nebraska. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that harvest is 50 percent complete in the state. This past fall, producers planted 920,000 acres of wheat, though only 850,000 are expected to be harvested. The USDA predicts Nebraska’s wheat crop production to reach 40.8 million bushels, which is a 26 percent decrease from the 2019 crop. (USDA, 2020)
Producers along the southern border of the state report that harvest is near complete in almost all areas. Throughout the region farmers harvested wheat with yields anywhere between 15-80 bushels, test weights ranged from 55-64 pounds and protein content was between 9-14 percent. The hot, dry and windy days played a large role in the development of the crop throughout this summer, causing there to be some shrinkage in kernel size and an overall lack of moisture needed for good growth. The drought stress seemed to boost protein content in some areas of the state, though dockage due to low test weights will offset the premiums from protein.
Wheat harvest in the southern panhandle is swiftly moving along with an estimated 50 percent of the crop being harvested already. Farmers in the region are bringing in average yields of 45 bushels an acre with the test weights between 60-62 pounds and protein averaging 11 percent. Unfortunately, the region saw an immense amount of wheat stem sawfly damage this year. There have been reports of farmers having anywhere between 5-15 bushels per acre of wheat destroyed by the pest. “The sawfly damage this year is the worst we have ever seen,” stated Tyson Narjes, a wheat farmer near Sidney, NE. Harvest is expected to wrap up in the region next week.
The northern panhandle is beginning to get their first taste of harvest this year as producers are gearing up to hit the fields. Currently, the region has harvested around 20 percent of their crop with things really starting to gear up towards the end of the week. Early numbers are looking good with test weights near 61 pounds and protein around 11 percent. With how fast harvest has been moving this year, the state should be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks.
The Nebraska Wheat Board administers the check-off of 0.4 percent of net value of wheat marketed in Nebraska at the point of first sale. The board invests the funds in programs of international and domestic market development and improvement, policy development, research, promotion, and education.