By Amy Bickel The Hutchinson News email@example.com
Reno County is tiptoeing into harvest. But if the first few loads rumbling onto country elevator scales are any indication, the wheat that spreads across the area has potential. "We've dodged all the bullets so far and have a good crop around here," said local farmer and custom cutter Matt Brack, who had three combines running across amber waves along Airport Road on Thursday evening. "It's better than average." In fact, he said, Reno County could have some of the better wheat in the state. Across much of southwest Kansas, it is thin and sparse, with many acres zeroed out due to the drought and freeze. Here, in south-central part of the state, farmers have caught timely rains. Brack said his first stop in Frederick, Okla., was poorer. By Anthony, some fields were averaging 66 bushels an acre. He estimated his Reno County harvest at 50 to 60 bushels an acre. "We have been very, very blessed," he said. By Friday afternoon, a few more combines were rolling through Reno County. Local elevator officials said they expected harvest to be in full swing by Monday. "We are just barely started," said Brian Soellner with Farmers Co-Op of Abbyville, adding that the cooperative took in jus t a few loads Thursday. Test weights averaged between 58 to 61 pounds a bushel. No. 1-grade wheat is 60 pounds or better. Abbyville's general manager, Curt Croisant, said Hutchinson terminals like Cargill and ADM already had taken in several loads from around the region. At Pretty Prairie, where more than two inches of rain fell this week, only one person was harvesting Friday morning. Meanwhile, Mark Nissley, who operates Yoder Elevator in Yoder, said he expected farmers in his territory to try to cut Friday afternoon and Saturday. Nissley said it appears it will be a good harvest. "Looks can be deceiving, but it looks pretty good," he said. "We'll know more once the combines get rolling." Steve and Cindy Park began cutting their wheat near Mitchell School in northern Reno County Friday night. "I just saw the semi truck go by," Cindy Park said, noting it marks the first load of wheat for the family. "The wheat looks awesome."