Purchase photos

Flat tire halts harvest





GOVE -- It wasn't the best time to talk about how the corn harvest was going, what with the combine leaning precariously to one side.

Especially with a flat tire coming so soon after getting a good start on a patch of irrigated corn just west of the city of Gove.

Shad Cook shrugged it off, unloading the combine bin into a waiting grain cart. He knew he'd have to wait until the tire was back up, although he was guessing a new tire was going to be in order -- considering how quickly the tire went flat.

The tire did have to be replaced.

"That was the third time it's gone flat," Doug Roemer said Monday. Cook was running the combine for Roemer.

The cost of the new tire was $2,600, he said, not counting the service call to get the tire changed.

Cook said he had just gotten a good start cutting the patch of corn.

"Actually, pretty good," he said of how the corn was doing.

With only a small part of the field cut, he wasn't sure of any specifics.

"I think it will hit over a hundred," he said.

That's only because water from the nearby Hackberry Creek augmented Mother Nature, too stingy to provide enough to grow much corn.

It didn't work out that well, as Roemer said it's likely the field will instead only yield about 80 bushels per acre. He won't know for sure until the last of the crop is off the truck to see how much it actually made.

"Way less than what it should have made," he said. "Too hot and too dry for too long to pollinate."

Elsewhere in Gove County, most of the corn's been cut, but the results have been anything but stellar.

Some of it has been chopped for silage and some harvested for grain, but the yields weren't impressive. In several fields, sample stands were left for crop adjusters to determine what yields might be, which dictates crop insurance payments.

So far this year, crop insurance has paid out $423 million for losses -- more than $4 million of that in Gove County alone. Most of the crop losses have been for corn and wheat.

Cook said the corners of the circle of irrigated corn he was cutting had to be chopped for silage.

"It didn't pollinate," he said. "Most everyone around here has chopped it."