Nebraska Wheat harvest

Harvest continues on Pete Miller’s farm north of Lodgepole, Neb., before a dust storm hits July 8.

A lot of progress was made for wheat harvest in Nebraska before mid-July.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that harvest was half done 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% decrease from the 2019 crop.

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%.

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 half of the crop being harvested by July 15. 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%.

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,” said Tyson Narjes, a wheat farmer near Sidney, Nebraska.

Harvest was expected to wrap up in the week of July 20.

The northern panhandle was beginning to get its first taste of harvest this year as producers are gearing up to hit the fields in mid- July. The region had harvested around 20% of its crop with things really starting to gear up toward the end of the week – July 16 and 17.

Early numbers were looking good with test weights near 61 pounds and protein around 11%.

With how fast harvest has been moving this year, the state should be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks.