McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Normal to above average harvest expected

  • While farmers in western Kansas feel as if their fields are sinking beneath a cloud of dust, McPherson County winter wheat crops are looking to produce average or above average yields.
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  • While farmers in western Kansas feel as if their fields are sinking beneath a cloud of dust, McPherson County winter wheat crops are looking to produce average or above average yields.
    Depending on the weather, combines could be rolling in local fields as early as the end of this week.
    Expectations are favorable, or at least better at this point in the summer than some predicted.
    Jonie James, agriculture extension agent for McPherson County, said she expects average to above average yields in the area.
    "Overall, I think we have a good yield potential out there," she said. "I think McPherson County should actually end up with some good wheat."
    She has seen some drought stress and freeze damage, as well as untimely hot weather.
    "I think we would have been well above average if we wouldn't have experienced the hot, dry winds a few weeks ago," she said. "It dried up that wheat tissue and you just don't get that back."
    But despite these circumstances, the outlook is still positive. Now farmers are waiting on the weather.
    "Two 100-degree days can change everything," James said of the wheat's readiness to be cut.
    "Temperatures are really the big factor."
    Brett Froese said he could be harvesting his winter wheat in rural Inman by the end of this week if it doesn't rain again. He is anticipating to have above average yield this year on both his irrigated and dryland wheat.
    "The hot wind last week kind of took its toll a little bit, but most stuff looks pretty good. As long as we don't get crazy hailstorms, we'll be in pretty good shape," he said. "I think the dryland wheat is going to be fine. It kind of depends on where you're at. If you caught more rain, it's probably a little better.
    The flatter, lower lying fields are going to be better than hillside."
    Frank Anderson said he won't be rolling the combine in his fields north of Galva for another week and a half. The weekend's rain put a stop to his plans.
    "We need to be doing things, and we can't do them now because it's too wet to do them," he said. "It just bottlenecks when you can't keep going. It's one of those deals that, we need rain when the crops grow, but it delays us. But it's a lot better than dust blowing in your face."
    Anderson expects an average wheat crop this year.
    "This hot weather has hurt the wheat," he said, mentioning he's seen shriveled kernels. "It just got too hot too quick and it cooked it. I thought it might be a bumper crop, but it doesn't look like it now."
    Page 2 of 2 - The severity depends on the wheat variety and the field location.
    "We've got at least something to look forward to," he said. "It's not froze up or dried out."
    Larry Goertzen, Mid Kansas Coop grain coordinator, said he hadn't seen any trucks dump wheat as of Monday, but he heard rumors of test cutting. From what he's heard from the southeast part of the county, harvest is looking exceptionally good.
    "Most farmers are looking at one of the best crops we've ever had," he said. "In our own back yard, a lot of farmers are optimistic about yields this year."
    Although they can never be sure until it hits the bin, Goertzen has observed wheat that is thick, lush, and has had favorable filling weather. This means cooler temperatures at its final stages of growth allowed more kernels to grow bigger. He expects 60 to 70 bushel per acre yields, and one farmer he talked to said he was expecting 70 to 80 bushels per acre.
    "The conditions were almost perfect for some potentially good wheat yields out there," he said. "But we always treat that with a word of caution."
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel
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