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Area grain elevators clearing out for coming wheat harvest

Jun 01, 2017 at 08:07 AM CST
  • By Mark Minton Staff writer

Storage issues that have been hampering southwest Kansas grain elevators are easing as more grain from last year’s robust wheat harvest gets exported to the Gulf of Mexico for sale in other markets.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Kansas Grain and Feed Association Executive Director Tom Tunnell said there was a “storage issue, particularly in southwest Kansas.”

Tunnell followed that up in a recent interview, saying, “It’s getting better each day.”

“We had quite a tremendous wheat crop last year as everybody knows, and it put quite a strain on our overall storage capacity,” he said. “A lot of people put grain on the ground. A lot of people put it in bunkers … and were very creative in what they call nontraditional storage areas.”

Tunnell said there wasn’t a high demand for the low-protein wheat crop that came out of Kansas last year. He added that much of the yield has been exported to the Gulf of Mexico via railway. He said there has been a record number of train shipments this year, adding that “while storage is going to be an issue, it certainly gets better each day as we ship grain out. It’s just finding a market for it.”

Speaking from a statewide perspective, Tunnell said he expects a “decent crop” this year with a projected 43 bushels an acre to be harvested on average. He added that it won’t be clear-cut just how successful the harvest will be until combines hit the fields.