Welcome Rain Creates Wheat Harvest Delay

Kansas Viewpoint

Combines pause in many areas of state as welcome rain, cool weather delay wheat harvest

Published on: June 4, 2012
As a general rule, nobody is happy with a wheat harvest rain delay.

The record-early harvest of 2012 is an exception. When widespread thunderstorms moved across the state on Wednesday and Thursday and high temperatures dropped from the mid-90s to the low 70s, farmers missed by the accompanying hail just breathed a sigh of relief and took a deep breath of fresh air.

And those hit by hail ranging from nickel to tennis ball size checked the damage, called the insurance adjuster and drove around their newly watered corn fields to bring up a smile.

By noon on Saturday, temperatures were back in the 80s and forecast to rise, a sure indication that wheat harvest will soon be back in full swing.
 LITTLE RAIN: Barton County wheat farmer Roger Brining checks a rain gauge on his farm near an irrigated wheat field. In two separate storms, along with a few wind-blown sprinkles from an irrigation system, the gauge read 0.30 inches of rain -- counting the floating bugs.
LITTLE RAIN: Barton County wheat farmer Roger Brining checks a rain gauge on his farm near an irrigated wheat field. In two separate storms, along with a few wind-blown sprinkles from an irrigation system, the gauge read 0.30 inches of rain -- counting the floating bugs.

Those not so happy with the storm delay are farmers in bone-dry west-central Kansas who barely got enough water to wet the ground, but enough cloud cover and cool temperatures to halt their disappointing harvest anyway.

In Barton County, Roger Brining got a good start on the harvest of fields that he once thought would make 80 bushels to the acre, The yield monitors on the combines told him what he has feared for the last six weeks; this year's dryland harvest will average around 20 bushels to the acre.
TALL STRAW: The dividing line between harvested and unharvested wheat on the Brining farm shows the tall straw left by the stripper head Brining uses on his combine on the left and the soon-to-be harvested ripe wheat on the right, Brining says he has more irrigated acres than ever before because he knew he would be extremely short on water this year and planted wheat under center pivots.
TALL STRAW: The dividing line between harvested and unharvested wheat on the Brining farm shows the tall straw left by the stripper head Brining uses on his combine on the left and the soon-to-be harvested ripe wheat on the right, Brining says he has more irrigated acres than ever before because he knew he would be extremely short on water this year and planted wheat under center pivots.