I don't know that there is ever a harvest without some hitches. But the 2016 version had its moments of "the good, the bad and the ugly" during the almost month-long process.
The bad: We experienced rain delay after rain delay, dragging harvest out for a month. By the end of harvest, the test weight was down to 56 pounds per bushel.
The ugly: We had a low yield of 15 bushels per acre on a field that had been hailed on twice and was mired in mud and weeds. By the time we "called it good," the grain was sprouting in the head, and we had a borrowed combine buried in the mud.
Our overall average on 1,559 acres planted to wheat was 48.5 bushels per acre. The last two fields definitely brought down the average.
purchased a 2010 7120 Case combine, along with a 2011 35-foot flex header.
We were getting binloads of high-quality wheat. Early in harvest, test weights were 62 to 64 pounds per bushel. The benchmark for quality wheat is 60 pounds per bushel.
|Philly Cheese Steaks served al fresco on the back of the car trunk!|
a raccoon dining inside the combine created more harvest drama. The raccoon went through the radiator when Randy tried to move the combine to our final two fields. The combine got hauled off to the repair shop.
we traded red for green, borrowing our neighbor's combine.
The Kanza Co-op locations at both Zenith and Stafford were full, so we started hauling to Stafford County Flour Mills. And there we discovered another problem. The wheat had begun sprouting in the head because of all the rain and because it was down in the field so badly. Thankfully, they accepted the grain, though it was with a 17 percent dock. (It's not the impression you want to make on a mill that produces the best flour in the country: Hudson Cream Flour. We weren't the only ones with sprouted wheat, though, and Stafford County Flour Mills hauled the sprouted grain to another facility, where it will likely be used as livestock feed.)
A little perspective is in order: In 2015, our wheat crop averaged 50 bushels per acre. Harvest 2014 was not a good year, and we averaged 24.5 bushels per acre. Our best year ever was 2013, when we averaged 52 bushels per acre, despite planting into dust and several late freezes.
So, the sun has finally set on Wheat Harvest 2016. The dryland corn and milo looks good after all those harvest rains. The guys are working on the second cutting of alfalfa. This harvest has been one to remember. Some of it, we'd probably prefer to forget. But that's part of farming. Kind of like the amnesia that new moms experience following labor, we'll put it behind us. And the journey will begin anew in September and October as we plant the 2017 wheat crop.