Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wheat harvests falter in wet weather

June 14, 2007

Heavy rains that caused area flooding in May have continued into June, threatening to play havoc with the area wheat harvest.

"If the wheat is ready and it rains, it is going to deteriorate," said Steve Wilson, owner of Baldwin Feed Co. "If it rains and it is not ready, it isn't going to hurt the wheat."

On Tuesday, Wilson had yet to receive the year's first truckload of wheat at his grain elevator.

"I don't think any of it is ready yet," he said. "It's usually about June 20 when the first wheat comes in."

Kansas farmers are expected to bring in 361 million bushels of wheat this harvest, compared with last year's 291.2 million bushels. The forecast is based on an average yield of 38 bushels per acre from 9.5 million acres, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service.

Kansas farmers will help the nation harvest a wheat crop that's predicted to be 24 percent bigger than last year's drought-plagued crop, the agricultural service said.

But continued rains are making some farmers and growers nervous. On Tuesday, the sky was overcast and radar indicated more rain was on its way to Douglas County.

So John Pendleton decided he couldn't wait to plant two more types of vegetables at his Pendleton's Country Market, between Lawrence and Eudora.

"I have some kids out there who are literally mudding in the peppers and okra that we would have liked to have planted three weeks ago," Pendleton said. "I told everybody we had 30 minutes before it starts raining."

The rains also have prevented Pendleton from planting sweet corn this spring.

"I've got some (sweet corn) seed that I still intend to get planted, but it isn't in the ground yet," Pendleton said.

The past two or three weeks were the optimum times for planting sweet corn so it's ready in August, Pendleton said. He said he has seen some farmers and gardeners with good sweet corn in their fields. The same goes for field corn, which is what's growing in most large fields of corn, he said.

"There is some field corn out there that looks fantastic," Pendleton said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.