• P.J. Griekspoor

    Dust, Dry Wheat, Tiny Spark Spell Tragedy

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 31, 2012

    Dale and Dawn Hartman were elated to finish wheat harvest early Monday afternoon -- plenty of time, they thought, to get the boat ready and head to the lake for the end of the Memorial Day holiday. But it didn't quite work out that way. "We had repaired a fuel leak earlier today," she said, standing in the still smoking ashes of what had been straw and stubble just hours earlier. We had just finished cutting and we were cleaning up. Dale was blowing dirt off the combine and something…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Down Time Part of Wheat Harvest; Still Frustrating

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 30, 2012

    Jim Stuhlsatz grew up farming with his father and he's been on his own for 44 years. That makes him no stranger to the challenges of harvest, but it doesn't make the frustration of down time any easier. "When it's time to go, I like to get right after it and keep going," he said. "Last year, I'll bet we didn't have 20 minutes of down time the whole harvest. This year, in just four days we've had probably 10 hours." Most of the lost time, he said, has been on one part of the combine…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Harvest Picks Up Speed

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 30, 2012

    Grain trucks outnumbered other traffic 5 to 1 on Kansas Hwy. 49 north of Conway Springs on hot, dusty Memorial Day afternoon, testimony to the fact that wheat harvest trumps holiday celebration every time. Farmers Co-op Grain Association at Conway Springs is one of the busiest elevators in busy Sumner County, year in and year out the top wheat producing county in the nation. Even last year's relatively poor, drought-hampered harvest in Sumner County topped 10 million bushels. At the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Early Wheat Harvest Is Rolling

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 23, 2012

    Wheat harvest has officially begun, says Kansas Wheat. Harvest, as it perennially does, started near Kiowa in Barber County when OK Coop took in 35 truckloads of wheat. The Day 1 Harvest Report from Kansas Wheat reported yields ranging from 40 to 57 bushels per acre and test weights averaging 61 pounds. In west-central Kansas, estimates are that a third of the yields has been lost to heat, high winds and drought. One field yielded only 29 bushels to the acre with test weights a little…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Looks Dead, but Berries Are Filling

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 18, 2012

    Roger Brining hadn't had the nerve to walk out and shell out a few heads of wheat in his decimated dryland fields. After anticipating as much as 80 bushels per acre just a few weeks ago, he figured the crop was a total loss. But against all odds, when he shelled a few heads last week, he found tiny berries in about the the soft dough stage. "I'm trying to figure how this crop could possible be filling heads," he said. "Wheat is the most amazing crop." Brining said he has noticed…

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