Harvest

If harvest has a theme, this year’s theme is “wet.”

Harvest should wrap up sometime this week in Dickinson County, said Larry Brake, manager of the Abilene Mid Kansas Co-op. Farmers in the north part of the county, around Talmage, may be a little later because of recent rains. They should be able to get back into the fields soon, he said.

Overall, harvest is doing better than expected.

“Wheat acres are down, but yields are surprisingly good,” Brake said.

Most are in the 60 and 70 bushels per acre range, he said, but one came in at 88 bushels.

Tony Whitehair, Dickinson County Extension Service agriculture agent, said he knows of yields as low as in the 40s and as high as in the 80s.

It’s been a challenging year for wheat farmers with so much rain and flooding.

Some fields were planted late in the autumn with heavy rains in October.

The last week of June Abilene registered 4 inches of rain, Brake said, then rain again over the July 4 holiday weekend. That was on top of heavy rains in mid-May that flooded fields.

Wheat rust came through in May and then some head scab, Whitehair said, but neither was as bad as expected.

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” he said.

Brake said some fields have had hail damage as well as flooding.

“It’s been a struggle to come through some of the fields,” Brake said, with the wet weather, but there’s no rain in the forecast for the next week.

But overall, yields were pretty good and even wheat that’s been flooded with be harvestable, Whitehair said.

“Management strategies have gotten better,” he said.

He is expecting more damage to corn and soybean crops than the wheat.

Although farmers aren’t losing yield with the flooding, they might lose quality. Test weights have been coming in at 56-61 pounds per bushel, he said.

Brake is seeing test weights of 58-60, not a lot above 60 because of the “excessive” rain.

Numbers lower than 58 or 60 can lower the price.

There have been no reports of farmers having difficulty getting their loads to the elevators. With Jeep Road opened again Tuesday morning, all the county roads are open although some, especially the dirt and gravel roads that had water over them, may be rough.

There was flooding around Highway 15 but it wasn’t closed, Brake said.

Whitehair cautioned that harvest is still going on this week, so all drivers should be on the lookout for trucks and combines and be courteous.

Contact Jean Bowers at reporter2@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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