Wheat harvest gets late start, catching up quickly

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Kansas is called “The Wheat State” for a reason, as you will find hundreds of wheat fields across the state.

However, Kansas did slip from being the #1 wheat producer in the U.S. last year, and farmers this year got a late start and have a lot of catching up to do.

Due to the constant rain in the region, wheat harvest is only at 8% when it should be at 33% at this time of the year.

The heavy rains pose difficulties for the machines, but it also poses other problems.

“When you have wet fields, weeds grow very fast,” said Leroy Russell of K-State Research and Extension. “You have to get the harvest before the weeds come in and to get the grain to dry down.”

The delay in harvest causes delays in other tasks as well, so farmers find themselves behind on many of their operations.

“Not only are farmers trying to get the wheat out, but they’re also trying to put some brome hay up, and alfalfa hay, and the soybeans are finishing up planting,” Russell said. “They’re trying to juggle all these things at once.”

Fortunately, the drier and warmer weather recently are allowing farmers to catch up very quickly, although it might take some extra work and longer hours.

Russell predicts that wheat production should exceed last year’s quota and therefore he believes that Kansas will regain that number one spot from North Dakota fairly soon.


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