Thunderstorms Threaten Kansas Wheat Harvest But Rain is Scattered

Thunderstorms Threaten Kansas Wheat Harvest But Rain is Scattered

Only very localized areas get rain; Kansas wheat harvest rolling in most of state with central corridor seeing best wheat.

The sky was full of rapidly building thunderstorm clouds and there was a sprinkle of rain as Jerry  Gerber sat parked alongside a the wheat field that Tom Bergkamp was harvesting on Monday afternoon.

"I don't think it's going to do much; just kind of cloud up and blow over like yesterday," Gerber said.

He was right. In spite of thunder and lightning, rain was scattered and light and harvest kept right on rolling in most parts of the state.

That very lack of rain was one of the reasons Bergkamp and his son, Mark, delayed harvest on the land they farm for Tom's sister-in-law, Shirley Martin over the weekend.

Matt Overturf with Skyland Grain in Johnson said he expects the company to take in just 10% of a normal crop while the Meade area saw about 50% abandonment and is seeing yields of about 10 to 20 bushels per acre.

"We got started last Friday, but they took the weekend off to get a couple of sprinklers repaired and in good working order," Gerber said. "It's starting to look like they are going to be needed."

With irrigation systems fixed, the Bergkamps returned to the wheat fields on Monday and so did most of their neighbors. A drive down 21st Street from Wichita to the western border of Sedgwick County found combines rolling in just about every wheat field.

Central Kansas seeing good yields

According to Kansas Ag Statistics, the harvest is now about 8% complete in Kansas, with the central part of the state seeing good yields and strong test weights.

Further to the west, the news is not so encouraging. Kansas Wheat's daily harvest report for Monday said much of the crop in Stanton and Hamilton counties was abandoned because of drought and freeze and the wheat that is being harvested is yielding between 5 and 15 bushels to the acre.

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