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Christy: In the weeds

Pratt, Kansas—Monday we moved three machines over to Pratt, Kansas. The first few fields weren’t that bad, and averaged overall 30 to 32 bushels per acre. When we started moving more to the west we ran into some really weedy fields. We pretty much fought weeds the rest of the week.

By Pratt, Kansas. The weeds really did overtake this field.

The weeds can do a lot of damage. Especially when they cover up obstacles in the field that you would normally see and miss. Missing the obstacle wasn’t the case for one of our operators. As he was trying to get as much wheat out of the weeds as he could, a drainpipe covered by the weeds put an abrupt stop to him. The force of hitting the pipe sent the operator into the windshield and totaled the head. It’s a loss that there just isn’t anything you can do about. These things happen, and I know our operator would have missed it if he could have seen it. Thankfully the operator is okay, though I think he was a little shaken up. He jumped back in the combine after we grabbed an extra head.

I don’t know if this picture really shows how deep the damage was done, but the pipe completely destroyed this header.
Jamie Davidson, a crewmember, took this photo of the drainpipe. It’s unreal the damage something so small can cause. (Photo by Jamie Davidson.)

So, why all the weeds this year? Basically, due to lack of moisture to start with, the crop is thin with lots of bare ground between. A good crop would till everything out. Getting moisture later with space to grow, the weeds overtook. Some farmers have sprayed, but others decided against it. Mainly because it doesn’t pencil out to pay for spraying on a weak crop. It’s hard to put more money into a crop that won’t give our farmers the return they need. The only bright side is that Kansas is seeing moisture. Now that some rain is hitting their direction, we hope to see it continue so that next year we see better crops and hopefully less weeds.

Over by Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Patrick finished up the job there after being stalled by rain. He moved machines back over to Anthony with Gary so they could complete that area. Gary and Patrick also fought weeds, and more rain showers.

When Anthony was completed, two more combines came up to Pratt to help us finish up. It was great to start seeing some progress through all the rain delays that have held us up this year.

Five combines running around a pivot just north of Pratt.

Yesterday we brought the whole convoy to Tribune, Kansas. Just as the guys started unloading, a little rain came through. I really can’t believe all the rain we have had this year. Usually we see some delays in Texas, then we run pretty steadily. It’s good these areas are receiving rain.

I’m not sure what to expect for crops here yet, though I don’t think we will see many high yields. Hopefully the rain holds off now because I know we’ve got to get up the road to Montana a little sooner than usual. They are predicting a great crop there, and I’m excited to see it. We’ll see what this week brings.

Christy Paplow can be reached at christy@allaboardharvest.com.

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