Harvesting in Sublette, Kasas. This is the best of the best dry land crop…the fewest weeds. Most fields are yielding between 15-25 bushels per acre. Test weight is poor, often 56 lbs. We have heard of some in the 40s!
After 4-5″ of rain over most fields, we were surprised the mud was not worse. The John Deere combine is 4-wheel-drive and the ground had dried just enough to be able to push through and harvest the grain in most fields.
The final fields had more low spots, so we strategically left those fields last so they could dry up as much as possible. Still, standing water was easy to find and many passes had long stretches of mud. You couldn’t have harvested these areas without 4×4. The mud ads another layer of stress, takes a lot of effort to wash off such a large machine, and causes temporary panic attack when you nearly get stuck! We hope this is the last of the mud for 2018 harvest, but are thankful to have a machine capable of handling these tough scenarios.
The worst of the worst….an example of an abandoned field that will never be harvested. Such thin, poor wheat was easily overtaken by weeds after plentiful rain accelerated their growth. It’s sad to try and understand how discouraging this must make local farmers feel…a lot of money, hard work and planning went into raising this crop with nothing in return. No doubt there will be plenty of financial stress to shoulder as farmers will have staggeringly low incomes from their wheat crop this year.
An all-too-common site while harvesting here in SW Kansas. Too much wet, weedy material and not enough dry wheat straw to mix in and allow the machine to discharge the material out the straw chopper. This has to be cleaned out by hand, and I have the green-stained skin on my arms to prove it! How long will it take for my skin to return to it’s normal shade? These weeds have created a lot of heartache for everyone this year…
A ground-level view of the short, thin wheat. Cutting so close to the ground becomes very challenging, and that forces the machine to intake more green, wet weeds…a recipe for disaster. See the plugged straw chopper photo above. Muddy ground conditions also mean the machine can quickly, and unexpectedly, sink into the ground. This forces the wheat head to make contact with the ground and increases the chance for getting dirt into the header. Just another time-robbing, back-breaking task on a 100 degree day…digging wet dirt out of the center of the header. This also proved to be an all-to-common heartache while harvesting. Lets hope weed-free, dry conditions lie ahead of us for the balance of the summer.