Nothing like moving to a new town during a record-setting year! Like in many places across the country, Scott City and the surrounding counties had the earliest wheat harvest they had ever seen. I got the privilege of meeting the chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission, Richard Randall and rode the combine with him for part of the afternoon.
I got to talk to some other great farmers in the area too and write about it for the Scott County Record! Here’s what’s been happening here:
This may be the earliest wheat harvest that Scott County farmers have ever seen.
Richard Randall has farmed in the county for over 40 years and he’s never had a combine cutting in one of his wheat fields before the middle of June.
“Generally we start around the 19th or 20th – June 15th is the earliest I had ever seen it before now,” he said. “This year we started cutting on Monday (the 11th).”
Gary Friesen, general manager at the Scott County Coop was surprised by the early harvest too. The coop took their first load of wheat at Shallow Water on May 31.
“Since then, wheat harvest was hit and miss in the area,” he said. “But as of Tuesday it’s in full swing. We don’t usually see it like this so early.”
The first wheat yields reports are coming in from across Scott County and so far the numbers are varying greatly – from less than 6 to over 60 bushels an acre depending on what part of the county they are coming from. In general, yields have been the best in the north part of the county while south and east Scott County have suffered the lowest yields.
Larry Dearden, a farmer in southern Scott County, already finished cutting his wheat on Wednesday. He saw yields on his place ranging from 30 to 6 bushels an acre.
“The further south and east our land was the worse the yields were,” he said. “Some of our fields near the Finney County line ran only about 6 bushels an acre.”
Farmer Chad Griffith also experienced a variety of yields on his land. On Tuesday he cut some wheat in the northwestern part of the county that had a 62 pound test weight and yielded between 55-60 bushels an acre. The wheat he cut in the eastern part of the county had test weights between 57-58 pounds and was yielding only 25 -35 bushels an acre.
For Brian Vulgamore, a farmer living south of Scott City, this has been one of the worst yielding wheat harvests that his farm has had in a long time.
“It’s disappointing,” he said, “But it has actually turned out better than we expected it would be. It’s been dry and we’ve missed some of the rain that the north part of the county got, so our yields have been lower.”
And though harvest started early for Vulgamore, he and his crew won’t be completely done cutting for at least another week or two.
“Our dryland and irrigated wheat are both typically ready about the same time,” he said. “But this year the irrigated wheat still has some green in it and won’t be ready for at least another week, so we will have some down time between harvests.”