Hot temperatures. Windy conditions. Long hours.
And the hope of no rain — at least for a few more days.
That’s what those involved with the annual wheat harvest were thinking once they were able to hit the fields. Most areas in and around Ellis County were in full force cutting this week after last weekend’s storms trekked through the region — dumping large amounts of rain in some areas.
“The rain didn’t help us out Friday,” said John Lang, who was helping harvest a field of wheat just east of Hays on Tuesday afternoon. “It sucks to complain about rain, but it doesn’t help during harvest.”
Lang and his family got started Monday night and had approximately 900 acres to cut this year.
“We’re really excited for a good crop,” Lang said as he waiting for a truck to be filled and taken to the elevator. “We’re real excited after several disappointing years.”
That was the overwhelming feeling of many in northwest Kansas as combines began working through field after field of wheat.
The only drawback — the price per bushel.
“The price could be better,” said Dan Bernard, general manager at Agco Inc. in Russell. “The yield is pretty above average though.”
Thursday afternoon, Bernard estimated the Russell area was approximately 65 percent to 75 percent finished with harvest. And he was happy farmers were able to harvest a bountiful crop.
“We’re right at what we took in last year, and we’re about 70 percent done,” he said. “And last year was about 75 percent of what a normal crop would be. We’ll probably be about on the five- to six-year average.”
As rain threatened Thursday afternoon, Bernard was hoping moisture would hold off for a bit longer.
“We’re ready to get done, and then we’ll take some more rain for the milo,” he said.
Harvest was threatening to come to a stop in southern portions of Ness County on Thursday afternoon due to rain showers.
Gary Gantz, owner of D.E. Bondurant Grain Co. in Ness City, estimated the harvest was 70 percent to 75 percent complete in his area.
“It looks to me like a good harvest so far,” Gantz said. “We’ve had several pockets of disease around here, though. … That’s cut into the yields. But I’m guessing we’ll be close to averaging 50 (bushels/acre) across the board. We’ve had some 25 bushel and some extravagant like 80 bushel. … Overall, it’s a wonderful crop.”
That’s something Gantz is happy to see.
“It’s been a long time coming around here,” he said. “The quality has been pretty good.”
He, like many others, just wishes the price of wheat would be higher.
Instead, he’s looking at the bright side of having a solid wheat crop coming into his elevator.
“That’s the way we’re looking at it,” Gantz said. “It seems like we’ve sat here with an empty elevator since 2011. It’s nice to see the bushels coming in this year.”