Steady Stream of Trucks Keeps Scalehouse Workers Busy

Farm trucks, semis line up to cross the scales at Andale Coop in western Sedgwick County during Kansas wheat harvest.

Published on: Jun 27, 2013

If you handed out awards to the hardest working people during any wheat harvest, the people manning the scale house at local coops would be near the front of the line.

At Farmers Coop in Andale this year, that is Monica Lubbers and Stephanie Seiler.

The two were busy pulling wheat samples, running moisture, foreign material, test weight and protein tests, printing out tickets and keeping computer records updated as a steady stream of farm trucks and semis crossed the scales.

In her spare time, Monica popped out the door and offered cold soft drinks or bottled water to the truck drivers.

"The 1st National Bank at Hutchinson donates the drinks for farmers," she said. "They just bought our bank here in town. The come in every morning and replenish our supplies and if we start to run low, we cakll them and they bring us some more."

WHEAT SAMPLE: Andale Farmers Coop worker Stephanie Seiler collects a sample of wheat for testing at the Andale location.
WHEAT SAMPLE: Andale Farmers Coop worker Stephanie Seiler collects a sample of wheat for testing at the Andale location.

Central Kansas Wheat Harvest In Full Swing

Across the street in the coop office, Steve Morris said that harvest in the region started last Friday and gained speed steadily through the weekend, hitting full stride on Tuesday.

"Farmers around here are really pleased. We survived all the freezes and the weather cooperated during May and we're seeing some really good wheat," he said.

So far, he said, the Andale location has taken it about 32% of the wheat it saw during last year's harvest, which was considered average to slightly above average.

KEEPING TRACK: Pulling samples, printing tickets and maintaining computer records keep workers in the scale house busy. Here, Andale worker Monica Lubbers lowers a probe in to a waiting truckload of wheat the pull a sample.
KEEPING TRACK: Pulling samples, printing tickets and maintaining computer records keep workers in the scale house busy. Here, Andale worker Monica Lubbers lowers a probe in to a waiting truckload of wheat the pull a sample.

"That number might not mean as much, though, because of differences in the number of acres planted and such. We probably won't have definitive numbers on yield for a few days yet," Morris said.

He said that test weights are averaging about 62 pounds, above the benchmark 60 pounds for hard red winter wheat.

"I'm definitely seeing a lot more smiles than frowns," he said. "We have been really lucky in this region this year."