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2019 Wheat harvest wraps up
Late, wet, and surprisingly good for some
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Grain is readied for transport from the field west of Ellinwood earlier this week. The 2019 wheat harvest is wrapping up in Barton County, with surprising results for some. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

Barton County farmers are putting the cold and rainy spring behind them as temperatures begin to rise. Pivots are coming to life around the county, and it’s just about time to close the book on this 2019 wheat harvest. 

This was one of the latest harvests on record, with harvest starting for most in the state around July 1. In the past two weeks, some areas received several inches of rain while others were passed over, while other areas saw varying degrees of hail. Mud kept farmers out of some fields, while others found ideal harvest conditions. 

“I would say the bushels were about average if you were not flooded out,” said Alicia Boor, the agricultural agent for Cottonwood Extension District. “Protein was down a little from other years. Overall though, I feel that producers were pleased considering how difficult the growing conditions were.” 

Barton County farmer Keith Miller farms in different parts of the county, so he’s experienced both the good and the bad a wet spring and rainy harvest season had to offer.

“Harvest was trying because of all the wet ground,” Miller said. “Upland, where we normally have our poorest wheat, was our best this year because the water ran off. The flat ground produced poorly because so much drowned.”

Miller had some good some really good wheat in places, reporting bushels per acre in the high 60s to low 70s in his upland fields. But there was hail to contend with too, which reduced yields considerably. In some areas, bushels per acre were down to 10. There was a little bit of rust, but test weights were still around 61 to 63. 

“We had quite a bit of hail, but that’s part of farming,” he said. “You live with it and go on.”

In the south part of the county, Miller had mud to contend with going into harvest. There were fields he didn’t extend the resources to cut because they were completely drowned out.

“It’s been a strange year,” he said. With temperatures finally climbing into the low 100s, he still has muddy spots, and even had to request a tow for equipment caught in quicksand due to a very high water table south of the Arkansas River. 

He’s hoping with farmers in the area kicking on irrigation, the water table will finally drop. 

“We could really use a 1-inch rain about now to keep the fall crops in good shape,” he said. The irony wasn’t lost on him. 

Barton County Farm Bureau president Jerry Morgenstern farms around Hoisington. He reports the harvest in northern Barton County was good this year, with good quality grain that was average or above in protein content. 

“We had excellent harvest weather, and it was a very enjoyable harvest,” Morgenstern said. 

Around the state, harvest continues to roll through northern Kansas as farmers try to pick up the pace to make up for some lost time, reports Peyton Powell, an intern with Kansas Wheat. Yields continue to be highly variable throughout the state, with some areas seeing double the county averages, while others are making 25-30 bushels per acre. Pockets of protein continue to be reported in localized areas of the state.

According to Brooks Hanson, manager at Bartlett Grain east of Great Bend, harvest is pretty much finished in the area but they continue to take grain from other areas into to their 8 million bushel facility. While yields around the state were variable from field to field, western Kansas has seen record yields. 

“We appreciate all the local business we are getting and look forward to more in the future,” Hanson said.   

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Combines like this one west of Ellinwood last week have moved on, following the harvest as it moves north. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

Kansas Wheat sponsors bread sculpture and photography contests at state fair

By Peyton Powell

Kansas Wheat Communications Intern


MANHATTAN — Feeling artistic this summer? Why not enter in these wheat-tastic contests in the Kansas State Fair? The Kansas Wheat Commission sponsors family friendly competitions, including the Bread Sculpture Contest and the Kansas Wheat Photography Contest.

The Bread Sculpture Contest is perfect for those with artistic hands, young and old. We are looking for sculptures that blow the judges away with creativity and artistic merit. Go beyond just a loaf of bread and think outside the box with your sculpture. Whether you create a family of turtles, a turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving or an American flag, your sculpture should be creative and unique when complete. Creativity and originality are the top two things judges are looking for. They are also looking for crisp details, execution, visual impact, color palate and lastly, complete instructions with photos.

Want to try out some ideas before the Kansas State Fair? Many county fairs are hosting their own bread sculpture contests that can qualify your entry automatically for the state level. For more information on if your local fair is having a bread sculpture contest, please contact your county fair coordinators.

“Bread sculptures are a beautiful way to mix art and science,” said Cindy Falk, nutrition educator for Kansas Wheat. “The options for shaping are nearly limitless, so what we’re really looking for are unique creations that showcase the versatility of bread.”

Entries must include a typed, detailed recipe including shaping instructions with step by step photos or sketches on an 8.5 x 11” sheet of paper. While there are no size restrictions, small entries, such as rolls, must be presented with six individual sculptures. All entries must be pre-entered with the Kansas State Fair by August 13th.

The Kansas Wheat Photography Contest is the perfect fit for those with a keen eye and great camera. The contest includes photographs featuring all phases of the wheat industry. These color photographs will be used to promote Kansas as America’s No. 1 Wheat State. All Kansans - amateur and professional photographers -are invited to capture the story of Kansas wheat. There’s still plenty of time to capture harvest in the state, so be sure to go photo hunting in the few days.

“We want to see photos that tell the story of Kansas wheat farmers,” said Jordan Hildebrand, assistant director of communications for Kansas Wheat. “Whether it’s beautiful landscapes or farm family fun, we want to share the wheat story with consumers around the world. What better way to do that than through photographs?”

Any subject featuring wheat may be entered: seeding, storage, wheat fields, harvest, custom crews, grain trade, milling, wheat products, baking and more. We want to see how wheat impacts your life, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so show us what wheat means to you. We want you to tell us your story through a photograph or two.