Tuesday, May 7, 2013

S'wheat' Harvest? Time Will Tell

The bright blue sky and beautiful clouds against the green wheat made for a picture-perfect day in Kansas.
What a difference a year makes! The wheat field photo above was taken late last week. The one below was taken April 30, 2012.
Last year, the wheat was fully headed, and we were on our way to the earliest harvest ever, along with record temperatures for the spring. We started wheat harvest on May 26, Memorial Day weekend, last year.

It won't be early this year. The rule of thumb is that harvest will begin about 6 weeks after the wheat is headed. That hasn't happened yet.
Last week, Randy checked wheat fields after the latest round of freezing temperatures. When he broke open the stalks, he found some heads that were white and mushy, indicating freeze damage. (Click here for more on our own brand of wheat "surgery.") However, he also found heads that looked like they would continue to grow and produce grain for Harvest 2013, like the one shown below.
He says he is cautiously optimistic. (It seems to me he is always optimistic.) We did get an additional 1.60 inches of rain last week, and, as the old farmer saying goes, "Rain makes grain."

He hopes that there's a slow transition into summer temperatures. The wheat heads will fill better if it doesn't shift gears from freezing to 90 degrees over the span of a week or two.
The 2013 Winter Wheat Tour participants have pegged the Kansas wheat crop at 313.8 million bushels, well below last year’s actual total of 360 million bushels and the five-year average of 341 million bushels. They crisscrossed Kansas last week and made 570 stops at wheat fields to make their prediction for Harvest 2013. The crop is suffering the most in western Kansas, where drought and freezes have combined for a knock-out punch for some fields.

Another farmer saying? "A lot can happen between a prediction and harvest."


  1. Greetings, Kim, from one Kansan to another. Thanks for a lovely read filled with beautiful photos! Hope the wheat harvest is good this year.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Nancy. Where do you live and do you farm and/or blog also? Thanks so much for your nice comment!