Combines are beginning to roll across Kansas.
According to the Kansas Wheat Commission, wheat harvest finally started to get some momentum in Kansas on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Many farmers would already be done with their wheat harvest, but due to cool weather and rain delays, the state has experienced one of its latest starts. Mostly depending upon planting dates and amount of moisture, harvest has begun in some areas to the north even before their neighbors to the south have started. With combines beginning to roll, farmers are finding the silver lining in this year’s wheat harvest.
Chris Boyd, a farmer in Medicine Lodge, just began harvesting wheat on June 27. Others in the area began as early as last Friday, but weekend showers brought them to a halt for a few days. Boyd says they are starting later than usual this year, typically finishing harvest around June 30. Boyd says his yields are really spotty in the fields and doesn’t have enough wheat cut yet to report yield averages.
Derek Sawyer, who farms near McPherson, says that their wheat harvest is off to a late start, and they are fighting the mud in the fields. Thursday was a good day for them, meaning it was a dry one. Sawyer’s yields are all over, he says, ranging from 30-75 within the same field.
“It all just depends on how much rain sat there and the slope of the field; some places are better than others,” said Sawyer. With obstacles such as machinery breakdowns, Sawyer is powering through his wheat harvest.
Janell and Brad Aust, of Aust Farms in LaCygne, Kansas, have kicked off their harvest in southeast Kansas. While most of the state grows hard red winter, the Austs live close to the Missouri border and farm soft red winter wheat. Their yield numbers have been a little below average this year due to rain. While wheat is not their main farming crop, it is still an important one to them. They are hoping to finish harvest this weekend.
“Our backyard is like the Lake of the Ozarks,” says Aust. “The flooding is so bad in Linn County that a drive that normally takes less than 10 minutes, turned into almost an hour just to get to the field we are harvesting,” Aust says. The Austs are staying hopeful that the rain will stay away long enough to finish this year’s wheat harvest.