Harvest Gold

Harvest Gold

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Field Report

The Crayon box has a color called Yellow Green. If you look at it by itself, you'd say it's as "green" as Kermit the Frog. But put it up against plain old Green and there's definitely a tinge of yellow in it.

That's kind of how the 2016 wheat crop is looking these days. Even with all the rain and the cooler temperatures earlier this month, the crop is beginning its transition from green to golden.

We got another 1.40" of rain Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, depending upon  your perspective).

And while there may be a grumble or two about all the rain at the local coffee shop, most farmers would prefer being delayed with spring tasks with rain instead of looking to the empty skies during a drought.

For the first time since July 2010, Kansas has been classified as "drought free," according to Mary Knapp, assistant state climatologist.
The rains and cooler temperatures have given the wheat crop good "filling" weather, creating plump heads filled with wheat berries. We have been fortunate to avoid hail and tornadoes during this active weather pattern which brought devastation to the areas around Dodge City, Abilene and Chapman the last few days. (Thoughts and prayers are with those who are cleaning up.)

So we choose to be thankful - even if the farming "to-do" list is not getting crossed off as quickly as we'd like. After all, only two months ago, the wheat fields looked stressed. A dry winter had taken its toll. We were anticipating another ultra-early harvest, (like 2012) but this time, it would be because of lack of moisture.

Now the outlook is totally different.

Details create the big picture.
Sanford I. Weill, American businessman

I look at the "big picture" as I drive by fields, hurrying from one place to the next. But yesterday, I also decided to look a little closer.
Six weeks ago, the alfalfa was drought-stressed and was getting devoured by weevils. Randy has been wanting to begin harvesting it for more than a week now. But, on the other hand, it's lush and thick. While it is getting some blooms, it's not yet past its prime.
Just ask the butterflies that flit and float through the field.
The corn crop is off to a good start, though its "feet" are getting wet. 
The corn we had to replant is now up and growing next to its bigger "brothers."
Last Friday, there was enough of a window for Randy to plant forage sorghum and milo.
It's not up yet, but there is plenty of moisture in the ground for it to draw from.
There's a running joke that farmers are never happy with the weather. (Jokes often are born from a modicum of truth.) While there may be some grumbling at the parts counter or the restaurant, most of us are singing a different song, kind of like the happy trill I heard from the meadowlark yesterday afternoon as I chased butterflies across the alfalfa field.
And we are thankful.

14 comments:

  1. Seems like Corn and Potatoes are coming up like gangbusters out here in the valley. Lots of seed crops here too (cabbage, kale, carrots and beets)--Planted in the fall and harvested the next fall. Interesting to watch.
    MB

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    1. Your crops are so different from ours. One day, I'd like to see them.

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  2. May this good weather and crop continue! Such an interesting read.

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    1. Thanks, Helen. We are in the midst of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings all across the state today. I must admit I do not like severe weather.

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  3. Great photo - specially of the butterflies and bird. Stunning captures.

    Yippee for being drought free! Lovely to hear that Kansas is getting some rain, though we did see about some tornadoes on the news. Hoping they are some distance from you.

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    1. Yes, we are on our third day of severe weather in Kansas. So far, we have been fortunate to avoid hail and tornadoes. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their homes, farmsteads, machinery, etc.

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  4. Oh my goodness...these pictures remind me of the beautiful fields here in Bavaria...they are so tranquil. And I love that meadowlark picture :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting. By the way, I've been told by a Facebook friend that I misidentified the bird. It's a Dickcissel. As I told him, I appreciate the help. I'm a bird appreciator, but certainly not an expert.

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  5. Kim,
    Glad to hear you are getting good moisture. I think it's easier to wait for the ground to dry vs. watch your hard work and crops dry up.

    Dad says they are sitting good for moisture also. He is in the same boat as you with alfalfa, they are getting enough moisture at night to keep them from cutting, but a little more time will be ok for the plants.

    We could use rain. The prairie is green and crops are growing, but they need a drink sooner than later.

    A meadowlark with red wings? Great bird capture! Our meadowlarks are brown and yellow. They are sure singing, everyday I hear their beautiful songs.

    In April I bought 2 bird feeders and set them outside the kitchen window. Currently I am seeing goldfinches and little brown birds that I think are finches too. Fun!

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    1. I've been told by a Facebook friend that the bird is a Dickcissel rather than a meadowlark. He confirms that they are also good "singers." As I told him, I'm not a bird expert - just a bird appreciator.

      We got another 1.80" of rain last night. It would be nice to share some with you and bottle some up for August when we will likely need it.

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  6. I'm glad you're getting enough rain this year so far. I enjoy seeing the transition from green to golden...although the in-between isn't always so pretty. You're exactly right...farmers are never completely content with the weather. One needs dry weather to plant or harvest...another needs rain for crops to grow...and often on neighboring farms! Right now we need dry for planting...it's several weeks behind this year.

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    1. Yes, we could use a break from the rain. What we'd really like a break from is the severe weather in Kansas. Though we haven't been in the path of tornadoes or hail, others have not been as fortunate. I feel so badly for people who had so much damage to their homes and farmsteads.

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  7. Thankful that the tornadoes bypassed the County Line! Your wheat is looking good!

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