PLYMELL — While the humidity is putting harvest on hold for some local farmers, others were busy in the fields on Monday, beginning to cut their wheat crop.
Scott Heiman was weaving through a field in a combine on his family’s land southeast of Plymell, cutting his wheat and later dropping the collected grain into a grain cart.
“It’s better than it’s been in the last few years,” Heiman said. “Mostly because of all the rain and Mother Nature.”
Heiman was cutting dry land wheat Monday afternoon, a crop that gets its moisture from the sky, he said.
“It’s crazy what a little bit of rain can do here in the summer. It makes a big difference,” Heiman said. “Last year, we had some wheat that wasn’t even worth cutting.”
The biggest difference between last year’s harvest and this year’s is timing of the rain, Heiman said. Last year, there was a lot of rain, but it was a little too late to help out the wheat, he said.
“This year, the wheat has about everything it’s needed,” Heiman said.
On the other hand, Kurt Strasser, manager of the Plymell branch of the Garden City Co-op, said humidity is making harvest start off slow.
“The humidity makes it tough to cut. It doesn’t show the green out of the head quite as good,” Strasser said.
Last week’s rain slowed down harvest, Strasser said.
“I took a ride with one of our crop production guys just a little while ago, and and there’s someone cutting three miles from here (Plymell grain elevator),” Strasser said. “It’s still muddy in the field. They’re having to cut through it or around it. We haven’t really got in the full swing yet.”
Heiman said late rains during harvest should not affect the dry land wheat grown on his family’s land, but will have some effect on irrigated wheat.
“It’ll slow us up in some spots if we cut around some water holes, but hopefully, they’ll eventually dry out,” Heiman said. “Then we’ll be able to get back in there and cut them.”
Heiman and his family are hoping for anything over 50 bushels an acre, or maybe 60 or 70 for their dryland wheat crop.
While cutting the wheat Monday afternoon, Heiman’s combine was telling him he was getting about 48 bushels an acre in the “better” areas of wheat, he said.
The family began cutting a portion of the wheat on the nearly 1,800 acres of their land Sunday afternoon, Heiman said.
At about 2 p.m Monday, the Plymell grain elevator had only two loads of wheat dropped off. By about 6 p.m., the elevator had seen nine truckloads.
“I think today we’ll see more trucks,” Strasser said Monday. “We had a farmer call in and is just waiting for the humidity to go down a little bit before they start cutting. He’ll be test cutting, and he’ll probably be hauling in today.”
Strasser added that wheat harvest will last two to three weeks.
“I hope it’s a fast one,” Strasser said with a laugh.
Josh is a reporter for the Garden City Telegram. Email him at email@example.com.