Farmers endure low yields in southwest Kansas

Soon-to-be harvested wheat in one of Boyd Funk's field

FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — The winter wheat harvest is just about wrapped up. To say that this crop has suffered is an understatement.

It’s survived hail, a freak spring blizzard, and a disease that ran rampant through entire fields.

For many southwest Kansas farmers, the yields from the harvest are disappointing.

“I would have liked to have seen a little bit higher,” said Kearny County farmer Kyler Millershaski, “but you have bad years and good years.”

Millershaski says he’s averaging about 27 to 32 bushels per acre.

“It has been, for us, slightly below average,” he said, “especially coming off of last year when we had yields up around the 80-90 bushel range.”

With devastating weather events, like hail and the late snowstorm, some acres only yielded 5 bushels and weren’t worth cutting, but other fields helped offset the losses.

“I would say overall it was about what I expected,” said Millershaski. “There were fields that really surprised me. I was thinking they were only going to make 40 and they ended up making 55 to 60.”

Over in Finney County, Boyd Funk is seeing about the same yields: 30 bushels or fewer per acre.

He attributes much of the loss to wheat streak mosaic virus.

“The mosaic, like on the north side of this field there’s a lot of mosaic that really took a big area and the spotty stands,” said Funk. “It just wasn’t a good wheat year.”

While he and Millershaski are both optimistic about the next harvest, he’s relieved.

“I’m glad it’s over with,” said Funk with a laugh. “I’m glad to get it behind me.”

It’s not all bad news from the revenue side.

“If a farmer had grain to sell and had a decent crop,” explained KSN ag expert John Jenkinson, “the price has come back, and that’s taken some of the edge off.”

Farmers in nearby Meade County are reporting 50-55 bushels per acre with some acres getting as many as 100 bushels.

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.