www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Wichita to host Special Olympics North America softball tournament -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Via Christi to offer 2 events to help people enroll for insurance -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Sedgwick County withdraws from National Association of Counties -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Kansas House panel holds hearing on marriage -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Community leaders coming together to discuss ending domestic violence -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Parkinson's Disease Support Group to meet in McPherson -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Cited owner's case includes 2-day jail stay -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Smoky Hills Audubon Society to host free program on protecting birds -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Shuttle crosses many paths -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Jury acquits man for aggravated assault -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Second police officer to appeal firing to City Council -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Highway closed for repair of ruptured gas line -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Drop, Cover, Hold On -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Bill would let home-schooled students play on public school sports teams -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Wichita school district's Choices Fair set for Thursday -1/28/2015, 4:07 PM

United drops nonstop service from Wichita to LA -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Teen accused of assaulting girl with knife at school -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Mission of Mercy to offer free dental care in Salina -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

As Kansas turns 154, five events that shaped our state -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Kansas Senate set to pass 'constitutional carry' of concealed guns, no permit required -1/22/2015, 12:07 PM

Kansas Senate committee hears from medical marijuana supporters -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Defendant in burglaries case ID'd in video -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Barber Co. manhunt was short-lived on Facebook -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Airport boss shocked with surprise honor on 30-year work anniversary -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Meetings to discuss goals of education -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Wichita City Council could vote on marijuana issue Tuesday -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Salina woman's bank card fraudulently used -1/16/2015, 4:59 PM

Retiring judge marks end to an era -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Man accused of beating, shocking woman -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Wichita City Council votes 5-2 to move ahead with library plans -1/13/2015, 2:50 PM

Restaurant employee arrested for allegedly adding to tip -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Misdialed 911 calls from cellphones waste taxpayers' money -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Mahindra to launch Midwest distribution center in Lyons -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

County commission votes Shadwick chairman -1/13/2015, 2:44 PM

Dr. Donna Sweet earns award from American College of Physicians -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Boeing on track with deliveries of Poseidon jets to the Navy -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Prosecutors receive additional reports in child torture case -1/9/2015, 3:04 PM

Politico: Huelskamp flip-flops on Speaker vote -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

No-till farming focus of winter conference in Salina -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Negative publicity costly to county -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Hutch man pleads guilty to assault on officer -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Final person sentenced in connection with beating of Salina woman -1/7/2015, 10:59 AM

City Council to consider higher storm water utility fees -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Change for the better -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Sylvia home deemed total loss after fire -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

New commissioners respond to county issues -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man arrested in connection with alleged rape -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man shot dead in Haysville during reported break-in attempt -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Cold front plunges much of Kansas into deep freeze -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Access TV looking to increase quality -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Voting for grants will end on Christmas Day -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Santa Claus welcome year-round at Hutch home -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Marquette tyke gets big wish; family destined for Disney World -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Kan. death has spurred work on virus -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Hospice rep goes to bat for nonprofit -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Cirque du Soleil coming to Wichita -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

V-Plan transmission line now in service -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Plains pupils: Pluto's a planet -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch United Way campaign slips further from goal -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch inmate charged with sexual assault -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Colorado teenager injured in 1-vehicle wreck on I-70 -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Salina Journal hires attorney to pursue names of county commission candidates -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Hays resident to sign copies of his book in Salina -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Grandview Plaza shows another clean audit -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Eighth-grader earns educational opportunity -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

koch121514 -12/15/2014, 9:56 AM

Cattle rustlers hit several counties -12/14/2014, 6:13 PM

Michael McDonald brings soulful sounds of Christmas to Stiefel Theatre -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

McCarville enjoyed Kan. Supreme Court work -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

Constructing gingerbread houses en masse -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

City redefines 'perennial violator' -12/9/2014, 11:59 AM

Feast day to shine with celebration, anniversary -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Ed board has lesson for 5 eyeing seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Century-old Christmas letter still has meaning -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Thirteen apply for commission seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Max Heim selected interim president of Colby Community College -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Gold coin gives needed boost to Salvation Army kettle campaign -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Abilene's Garfield Elementary has potential -12/5/2014, 5:54 PM

Man arrested for shoplifting at Salina Walmart -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Former school counselor sentenced for rape of 13-year-old boy -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Design for Central starts taking shape -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Kansas highway projects to proceed as state grapples with budget -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Foreclosures continue to fall in Kansas -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Sedgwick County trying to renegotiate IRS building deal -12/4/2014, 1:59 PM

Wichita police find 75-year-old woman -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

High Touch acquires Overland Park technology services firm -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

For five decades, TV anchor Larry Hatteberg stayed innovative, kind -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Details are sketchy on robbery at Kwik Shop -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Animal shelter director expected to take job in Amarillo -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Kobach on schedule to address Hutch tea party -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Some like it not: Graffiti unwelcome -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Defendant in Fairmount Park attack now charged with capital murder -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Weigand shuffles executive leadership -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Share the Season: Son's hospital stay put mom behind on bills -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Sedgwick County property tax bills went out this week, some incorrectly -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Injured vet, family find reasons to be thankful through hard times -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in baby's death in hot car -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

WSU to dedicate upgraded lab to study electrical power -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wilbur Middle School employee placed on leave after arrest -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wichita investors announce plan for southeast Kansas casino -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Some farmers expecting harvest to start in May

Published on -5/7/2012, 2:42 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Farmers in north-central Kansas might be planting soybeans this time of year, seeding gardens, even mailing graduation announcements — anything but greasing combines.
This year it’s different, maybe even unprecedented.
A balmy late winter and spring startled the wheat crop into an early awakening, and now has folks in the grain game gearing for a wheat harvest two or more weeks sooner than normal.
Most crops are ripe and ready by mid-June, but this season, some are predicting that combines could roll into Saline County during the last week of May, or no later than the first week of June.
In more than 70 years of farming — first as a boy in McPherson County and now in western Saline County — Quenten Swenson cannot recall harvesting wheat before Memorial Day.
“It’ll be very possibly during the last week in May, depending on the weather,” said Swenson, 90. He anticipates an “above-average crop as long as we don’t get any hail.”
Farther south in Oklahoma and Texas, the annual campaign has begun.
“We cut six semi loads (Friday), which is a good start,” said Jim Deibert, a custom harvester from Colby, who was working near Vernon, in north-central Texas.
He normally begins harvest there between May 18 and 20.
The grain is carrying 10 to 12 percent moisture, dry enough to store in an elevator, testing at 58 1/2 to 60 pounds a bushel — the industry standard is 60 — and yielding from 40 to 60 bushels to the acre, he said.
“It’s a pleasant surprise,” Deibert said. “Last year, there were a whole lot of people (in Texas and Oklahoma) who had nothing to cut.”
Soon the collective whir of expensive reaping machines will begin their annual migration north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. Some crews cross into Canada. Still others dip into Arizona or continue west to California, said Pam Shmidl, operations manager for the U.S. Custom Harvesters Association, based in Hutchinson.
Fast-ripening wheat has caused many of the 600 or more members to begin their campaigns early, she said.
“There’s a bunch of them who are scrambling south,” Shmidl said early last week. The early dates are causing a crunch for some like Deibert, who hires foreign workers, and others whose crews include students who have yet to take final exams.
“Some of the guys are still waiting on their help to arrive. Nobody was prepared. Some of them were caught by surprise,” she said.
Slowing the process are foreign workers waiting for the necessary visas to work in the United States, and those who need to renew or complete commercial driver’s licenses. Driver’s license examination offices in Kansas are closed for an equipment upgrade.
The shutdown “has got all sorts of things in turmoil,” Shmidl said.
Jeff Smith, of Windom in southwestern McPherson County, has never seen wheat head out in April, which caused many farmers to fear a frost similar to the one that socked the crop in 2007.
While there were likely some spots of fields affected by frost, north-central Kansas dodged widespread devastation.
“I just see lots of beautiful green fields of wheat with big heads on it. If it fills to its capability, we could have a great harvest,” Smith said. “It’s a giant crapshoot when we put it in the ground in the fall.”
The wheat may look good now, but a lot could happen.
“One hailstorm. One bad storm. There are so many things that could happen between now and harvest,” Smith said. “You try not to think about it.”
At Cargill Ag Horizons grain terminal just west of Salina, the Friday price closed at $5.92 a bushel, down 6 cents from the day before. On the same day in 2011, the price was at $8.08 a bushel at both Cargill and Scoular grain terminal on the eastern edge of town.
Tom Tunnell began predicting “a huge wheat crop” in Kansas as early as December that could produce 450 million bushels.
“I’m gonna be right or close to it,” said Tunnell, the president and CEO of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.
Thanks to a sharp increase in available storage space in Kansas, approaching 1 billion bushels, “space will not be a problem for wheat harvest,” he said. “There has been a tremendous increase in storage in the last five years, a building boom like we haven’t seen since the ‘50s.”
The long range concern is space for fall crops, he said.
“Certainly grain sorghum and some corn will be (piled) outside, depending on the area,” Tunnell said. “You could see some wheat on the ground.”
Some areas around Delphos were hammered by a late April hailstorm, which will minimize yield potential, said Dave Studebaker, general manager of the Delphos Co-op Association.
“On the stuff that escaped (hail damage), I would agree with the crop tour. If we don’t cut 55-bushel wheat, something’s wrong,” Studebaker said. “That’s almost 15 bushels more than normal.”
Despite being 34 miles north of Salina, he said, “We’re gonna see some wheat on Memorial Day. I’ve got one farmer who plants extra early. Unless something changes, my guess is he’ll be cutting wheat.”
digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos