If you are out and about in Barton County right now, you will be able to spot combines rolling through the wheat fields. To me, it is one of the best sites of the year, and I can spend hours watching harvest. All of the hard work raising a crop is coming to the end for a while, and finally, the producer will be able to see a return on the long days he has spent to bring the crop full circle. Many people I have talked to are very pleased with how well the wheat has turned out this year. With the drought, insect and disease pressure the wheat had to get past to get to maturity; it is a pleasant surprise that the harvest is turning out better than first thought.
With harvest in full swing, wheat farmers can participate in the annual Market Wheat show for Barton County. A farmer can submit 10 lbs. of a variety of wheat to Extension, either by bringing it into our office, or at the local co-ops and filling out a small information page. The wheat will then be tested and scored. We will display the results at the county fair, and the best ones might have a chance to go on to the State fair. If you are interested, please call 620-793-1910 or come into the office at 1800 12th Street. Entries are due by July 2nd.
After wheat harvest, it is also a good idea to monitor your garden for Thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that feed on developing flowers and leaves. If they feed on your tomato plants, they can cause the spread of a virus known as Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. One symptom of this disease is white or yellow rings developing on the young fruit. If the virus is there, it cannot be treated. To help prevent this disease, control the weeds around the garden to make it more difficult for the Thrips to get to your plants. If you see symptoms of the virus, remove the infected plant immediately. Insecticides can be used, but with limited success. Your best defense is observation and early control if you happen to see these insects.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at email@example.com or calling 620-793-1910