It's hot. It's dusty. It's windy. And it's wheat harvest in Kansas.
Combines were rolling in earnest over the weekend as the stretch of totally dry days expanded to three and moisture content dropped like a rock and fields rapidly turned from gold with some green to solid gold.
As is typical for Kansas farmers, friends and neighbors turned out to help at the Scott Van Allen Farm near Clearwater.
Van Allen was running two combines and working on a third by noon on June 22 and his neighbor, Britt Casteel was working as truck driver.
"I own my own shop and generally come to help out Scott during harvest," Casteel said as he waited for the grain cart to be emptied to into the waiting truck. "I'm not a farmer, but I am regular harvest help."
Highs were in the mid-90s with gusty winds whipping up dust and chaff as the combines rolled, but that is typical harvest weather in Kansas, and the weather forecast is for more of the same all week long. Temperatures in the upper 90s to low 100s with sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph and gusts to 35 and 40 are in the forecast throughout the week.
Kansas Wheat began the first of its daily progress reports on the harvest on Thursday, June 20, one of the latest harvest starts in recent years.
In the south-central region, traditionally one of the best-yielding areas of the state, it was too early for many farmers to have yield estimates, but harvest crews said they were seeing yields range in the 50 to 60-bushel range, Test weights so far are also good, mostly 60 to 61 pounds with moisture starting out on Thursday in the 13 and 14% range, but dropping to 11% by Saturday.