June 19, 2013

Southern Kansas wheat harvest in full swing despite rain

Harvest has started in earnest in southern Kansas, although rain has occasionally interrupted crews in some places.

Harvest has started in earnest in southern Kansas, although rain has occasionally interrupted crews in some places.

Although storms on Tuesday dropped rain in Sedgwick Country and several other south-central Kansas counties, it was scant in Barber and Harper counties where harvest has begun.

Anthony Farmers Co-op agronomist Ed Sutton said Barber County’s harvest was in full swing Wednesday.

“They’re hitting it pretty hard today,” he said. “All of our locations are pretty busy.”

He said he expected Barber County yields overall to be near normal, averaging out dramatic ups and downs in yields, depending on how much rain fields happened to get.

The drought scorched much of the western part of Barber County, he said, but some fields will produce decent yields even though they didn’t sprout until late.

“They could produce 28 to 30 bushels an acre, which is extraordinary given how late they sprouted,” he said.

At the Caldwell Farmers Co-op, trucks were lining up to deliver grain, said office manager Karla Davis.

“We are in full swing now,” she said.

She said the test weights are looking above average.

Farmers in Sumner County cut a few fields late last week or over the weekend, but were sidelined by showers Sunday and again Tuesday, said Randy Hein, Sumner County extension agent.

He said some fields are showing freeze or drought damage, but overall, the crop in what is traditionally the state’s biggest wheat producing county looks pretty good.

His gut feelings is for a countywide average yield of bushels per acre in the mid-40s.

“Not as good as last year, but above average,” Hein said.

It will take another week to 10 days for the harvest to reach Sedgwick County, said Gary Cramer, agronomist in charge at the South Central Experiment Field.

Precipitation in the region has tapered off a bit after a wet March, April and May.

As of Tuesday, Wichita had received 15.1 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1, which is less than a tenth of an inch below normal, according to the National Weather Service.

Farther west, the dry conditions continue.

Medicine Lodge has had 12.44 inches of precipitation, about half an inch below normal.

Dodge City has had 9.53 inches, which is more than 4 inches below normal, and Garden City has had 9.02 inches of rain, more than 5 inches below normal.

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