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Report: Wheat harvest nears completion in parts of Kansas after string of dry days

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WICHITA, Kansas — The 2015 winter wheat harvest is nearing completion in some parts of Kansas, and making good progress everywhere else, a government report Monday shows.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported in its weekly crop update that harvest statewide was 79 percent finished as of Sunday. That is ahead of the 66 percent cut at this time last year, but still behind the 83 percent average for this date.

A string of hot, dry days have spurred harvest activity. Kansas has received an inch or less of rainfall this past week, the report noted.

Russell farmer Morris Krug finished his wheat harvest over five days in late June with the help of a custom cutter. He fields were averaging yields in the low 40 bushel per acre range, but his test weights were running over the 60 pound per bushel benchmark for top quality wheat.

"We feel kind of fortunate that we got what we did," Krug said Monday.

Harvest has for the most part progressed rapidly across the nation's major producing states this past week. The agency also separately reported Monday that Oklahoma is 94 percent finished with its harvest, while harvest in Texas was 84 percent complete. Cutting has moved north into Nebraska with 11 percent of fields there now harvested.

The industry group U.S. Wheat Associates estimated in its latest harvest report issued Thursday that cutting will likely start within three weeks in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. Harvest in Wyoming is estimated to begin around July 15, the group said.

About 90 percent of the wheat fields in southeastern and central Kansas had been cut as of Sunday, NASS reported. South-central Kansas was close behind with growers there 88 percent done with cutting. Northwest Kansas trailed with just 55 percent of the harvest finished there.

Harvest elsewhere in the state ranged between 69 percent and 78 percent complete.

About 95 percent of the Kansas wheat crop is now mature.

For the wheat crop still in the field, the agency rated its condition as 29 percent poor to very poor, 38 percent fair, 29 percent good and 4 percent excellent.

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