Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hiatus Over? Not So Fast ...

It had been about 188 hours since we'd cut any wheat during Harvest 2014. A week and another 3/4 of a day was the longest hiatus either Randy or I could remember during a wheat harvest during his 58 years or my 57 years on Kansas farms. (Yikes, I'm still adjusting to saying that after my birthday last Friday.) The year I was born, 1957, the harvest was also slowed by rains. My Dad didn't have to get off the combine to come to the hospital for my birth. He was already at a standstill.

We only had one 42-acre field that we could cut yesterday afternoon. Randy got the 4-wheeler stuck while checking another field. That was enough to convince him not to pull his combine into that field.

Overnight, we got another 0.60" of rain. Six weeks ago, we'd have loved listening to rain hit the roof as we went to bed. I'd be lying if I said we had the same reaction last night, despite my repeated affirmations that I won't complain about rain.
I've always liked taking photos by this old silo. To me, it says quintessential farm scene. At first, I cropped the weeds in the foreground out of the shot. Farmers aren't big fans of weeds, and my husband is no exception. But, then, I decided I needed to leave them there to tell the story of Wheat Harvest 2014.

The rains are great for corn crops and alfalfa. But weeds like the rains, too. The wheat was thinner this year due to the drought during its growing season, so it didn't provide as good a canopy to keep the weeds small.

A week ago, we had the co-op spray for weeds in one of our wheat fields. At the time, Randy was somewhat concerned about the week-long moratorium on harvesting the wheat after the weed treatment. He needn't have worried about it. We have passed the deadline, and we still won't be cutting the wheat today.

We aren't alone. The weekly USDA report says that most of the state's farmers are facing short wheat, muddy fields and weed pressure. The USDA reported that 40 percent of the state's wheat crop has been harvested as of Monday, slightly behind the 50 percent that had been harvested at this point last year and well behind the 66 percent average.
Little yellow flowers in a wheat field may look picturesque to a casual observer. But since they thrive in mud holes, they just signal another challenge to a farmer. And, once it dries out enough to cut, they don't smell the best going through the combine either.

Randy says we are about 60 percent done with our harvest. Today will be another day of waiting. 


  1. Popping over from Robyn's blog oh your photos are beautiful. It has been a very challenging year to get cops of in Canada too this year. We are hoping it improves but we farmers are an optimistic bunch:) Good luck. B

    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Buttons! Yes, as I always say, my husband is the most optimistic person I know. When we have been in a multi-year drought, I am determined not to complain about the rain. But, I must admit, that's getting a little harder. Still, when I look across the road at the corn, I know it is literally drinking up the rain. Good luck to you at weathering the weather, too!