Pratt County farmers are quickly getting the 2018 wheat harvest cut and out of the fields.
Wheat harvest got underway in Pratt County and is expected to be completed in just a smattering of days.
“It’s going to be a fast-moving harvest,” said Jim Bob Lewton, grain operator at Kanza Coop, Iuka. “Everything is ready all at once. We got started on Monday and the quality is good. We will likely be all wrapped up early next week.”
Lewton said early yield reports were across the board but more in the 20s range.
The first wheat of the season came in to Stafford County Flour Mill in Hudson on Monday, June 11 according to manager Rueul Foote.
“We had eight loads in yesterday, and eight more came in today,” Foote said. “It’s too early here to tell about bushels per acre, but what’s coming is good quality, the protein is very good at 13 percent, and the moisture is dry.”
Foote said he was expecting trucks to come in by the end of the week but several farmers in the area were getting off to a good start earlier than he expected.
Steve Inslee at OK Coop Grain Co. in Kiowa, Kansas, said harvest in southern Kansas has also been quick and will be wrapped up by the end of the week if the hot, dry weather continues.
In Kiowa County, K-State Research and Extension Agent Wade Reh said that as of mid-week he had not seen anyone out in the fields just yet.
“We’re just not quite ready here,” Reh said. “A lot of farmers are still waiting.”
In Pratt County, Kent Moore at Iuka hit the fields northwest of Highway 281 on Monday.
His wheat test weight was a little light at 58.1 pounds per bushel (benchmark weight is 60 pounds a bushel) with moisture at 13.2 percent.
The wheat in this field was averaging 30 bushel per acre and that is a surprise. Considering the lack of moisture in the area for several months, that's a pretty good result.
"It's not great," Moore said. "It's better than it has a right to be. It's kind of a miracle."
Moore was using a stripper header that harvests just the kernels and doesn't cut the straw. Moore likes to use this method because it leaves more residue in the field.
Michael Hemphill was cutting in a field about a mile south of Moore and it was only making from 20 to 25 bushel per acre. Test weight was 58.9 pounds and moisture was 13.1. Hemphill said he didn't expect the bushels to increase. Because of the lack of moisture, most of the wheat in Pratt County is shorter than normal and Hemphill said he was having to run his header lower than normal this year to to get the wheat cut.