13 Jun Laura: And just like that, it’s go time!
Northern Texas, Wichita Falls region—The official “Harvest 2023 Kickoff” will enter High Plains Harvesting’s history books with a Memorial Day start day of May 29.
There is excitement around this crop because in some places it has the makings of the best that locals have seen in some time. In this part of Texas, hard red winter wheat is the wheat class of choice. It is drilled in the fall and harvested in the late spring.
The crew ran Monday through Friday of last week. Mornings weren’t exceptionally early because the humidity kept the moisture in the grain up. Once the moisture drops the crew has really hammered down.
One of the grain handling facilities in the area has closed. That, coupled with the fact that the crop is bountiful, has put strain on the remaining elevators and the trucks hauling in. The result of that combo is long lines with long waits.
To date, yields have ranged from 35 to 60 bushel per acre range depending on field location. Test weights have been around 62 pounds and protein at 11 to 12%.
On Friday, a decent storm rolled in and prohibited cutting all day Saturday. On Sunday, crews were able to roll by the afternoon. We thought we dodged a bullet as storms were in the area, but only drove us out of one of several fields we were working on. However, about 3 a.m. I woke to the sound of rain. Upon checking the radar, I saw that a small storm backed in from the east which is an unusual direction. Typically, storms come in from the west or the southwest. We were directly under the band of precipitation.
To date, the ground has remained pretty solid underneath the surface despite being a bit slippery on top. If the rains continue, the soil will continue to saturate and become more sponge-like. This would increase the possibility of a combine sinking into the mud and becoming stuck. We, other harvesters and farmers have been down that road in this part of the state, and we hope we won’t have to put those giant tow ropes to use any time soon. However, the farmers want the wheat out despite the moist conditions, so we will be back in the field at the first available opportunity.
Laura Haffner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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