Christy: Popping up out of nowhere

Kiowa, Kansas—After several rainstorms kept popping up unexpectedly, we are almost done by Wichita Falls, Texas, and Walters, Oklahoma. A few machines needed to break off and get to Kiowa, Kansas, so Paul and I brought a crew up to Kiowa last night. We made it just by dark to park equipment and set up campers.

The crew Paul and I brought up to Kiowa. We stopped at a truck stop on the way because Truck 9 was trying to over heat. Luckily it cooled down so we could continue on.

Our trip to Kiowa started a little later than we hoped as it was incredibly hot and things didn’t get loaded as quickly as Paul wanted them to be. The guys came in to help get campers ready to go, have a quick lunch, and we were off. The trip went well with the exception of one truck wanting to overheat, and we were fighting daylight to get to Kansas before dark. Oversize loads aren’t allowed to run after dark, so that was the importance of getting there by 9.

As it was dark when we arrived, I’m not sure what the wheat looks like yet, but today I should get a good idea. I imagine after the crew unloads combines and puts duals on this morning they’ll head to the field. There’s a chance of rain here today, so I’m not sure if we’ll be able to start or not.

The rain in Texas this year was not necessarily large in amount, or damaging with hail, but just enough each time that we had to park for the day. It kept popping up out of nowhere and really frustrating us since we wanted to get moving north.

Trying to keep going and finish a field by Devol, Oklahoma, before rain decided to put us to a stop.

Crews in Texas and Oklahoma should be wrapping up today if they didn’t get done yesterday. It was a really impressive crop overall between Texas and over the border into Oklahoma. Yields were anywhere from 30 to over 60 bushels per acre. The quality of the wheat we saw was between 60 to 66 pounds test weight and about 10 to 14% protein. With all the rain, the fields could be a little tacky or muddy in spots, but definitely not bad enough that machines would get stuck. Overall, an excellent first stop to start the year.

Another view trying to beat the rain to finish fields. This field averaged over 60 bushels per acre.
Patrick’s crew by Thornberry, Texas, just northeast of Wichita Falls. These machines have jumped into transport mode while waiting on the cart to empty to dump the last of the wheat from the field.

So far equipment has been running well and our crew is getting used to running the equipment. We haven’t seen too many breakdowns or major fixes. I hope that continues. Our crew still by Texas should be moving up this way by Tuesday. We’ll probably have one crew move up to Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and the rest will settle in at Anthony, Kansas. Anthony isn’t very far from us here in Kiowa.

I’m excited to have a smaller crew for a little bit. With only three machines here in Kiowa I’ll only have a group of seven to take care of. That’s a lot easier than the 20 when we’re all together. Though Zoey is proving to be a great helper these days. When she’s not in field with her Dad, washing combine windows and talking his ear off, she likes to help package meals and bake. She’s growing up quickly.

Zoey helping to package lettuce salads to go with the crew’s supper.

We’ll see what Kansas has in store for us this year. I hope they get rain where they need it. And I hope there’s some wheat acres for us to harvest.

Christy Paplow can be reached at

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