One of the really cool things about sharing your life with a pilot is you get to do things like I did Wednesday afternoon – take to the skies for a look at Kansas wheat harvest from high above it all.
We took off from the Newton Metro North airport with ground temperatures above 100 degrees and it didn’t take long to be grateful that the plane was air conditioned. Even at 6,500 feet, it was a hot day.
But the fields of ripe wheat mingled with pastureland, fields of alfalfa and circles of corn made for a gorgeous patchwork of Kansas in the summertime on the ground below.
There was some haze, but not enough to cause problems clearly seeing the activity below.
What fun it was to see the patterns left behind in harvested fields and have an up-top view of the staged grain carts, trucks and combines. I was amazed that even at 4,000 feet, you can clearly see the combine header turning and the plume of chaff and straw coming out the back.
We flew north and west from Wichita – east takes you to the Flint Hills and while the green of the pasturelands after merciful drought relief in the last two months is a beautiful sight, not much wheat is grown there.
I was a little surprised to see just how fast the harvest is moving. Flying over Reno, Harvey, McPherson and Saline counties, there were probably more fields harvested than not. With temperatures at or over 100 degrees every day and the high winds of the first part of the week (Wednesday had toned down to about a 10 mph breeze), everybody is scrambling to get the harvest completed.
Those that have finished wheat harvest are breathing an extra sigh of relief with today’s forecast, which has almost all of Kansas in an excessive heat warning, with indices from 105 to 110 degrees on Thursday and a warning of severe thunderstorms with tennis ball size hail and 75 mph possible over most of central Kansas.