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Wheat harvest coming in strong
High temps, wind helping to speed up local process
new vlc harvest story pic
Combines took to fields of wheat north of Hoisington on a hot, dry and windy Monday afternoon to bring in a harvest that is turning out to have excellent test weights, exceeding expectations of just two months ago before the area was inundated with rain. - photo by VERONICA COONS Great Bend Tribune

According to Duane Reif, manager at Hoisington’s United Ag Service, The high temperatures and wind are working in concert with farmers who are well on their way to getting the 2015 wheat harvest cut and transported to elevators all around the county.
That’s great for United Ag, because later this week, work on Broadway will cause a critical intersection near the elevator to be closed. Construction of the new Casey’s General Store on the corner of Main Street and Broadway is on schedule, and it’s time to set new sewer lines at the intersection of Broadway and Main, so the road will need to be closed there for about a week, according to Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell at the city council meeting Monday night. Mitchell explained to Casey’s corporate representatives the importance of having the intersection open, and was able to convince the company to delay the closure until Thursday morning.
“That gives us more time to get trucks in and our customers notified of the alternate route,” Reif said. “The harvest is coming in fast, and if conditions stay the way they are, we could see traffic tapering off by this weekend.”
Trucks will need to turn on Railroad, one block south of Broadway, in order to reach Walnut, where the scale is located.
Reif reported most farmers are bringing in between 30 to 40 bushels per acre on the average, at test weights of 61 lbs., which he said is excellent. Protein is at 12 to 12.5 percent too, considered on the medium to high end of quality according to U.S. Wheat Associates.
“It’s looking good and farmers are excited about the yield,” Reif said. “Back in early May, before we got all that rain, it was looking awful. We may need to start calling his ‘Hardy’ Red Winter Wheat instead of ‘Hard’ Red Winter Wheat.”
Andrew Fullerton, the origination manager at Bartlett Grain between Ellinwood and Great Bend, is pleased and excited to be involved in the local ag economy. Barton County’s newest elevator is offering terminal pricing and is unloading trucks quickly, starting at 7 a.m. in the morning and running until midnight, seven days a week.
“We work in shifts, which makes this possible,” Fullerton said.
Farmers, he said, are reporting yields on the low-end in the mid-30s, all the way up to highs of 75 bushels per acre in some areas. Test weights are ranging from 57 to 63.
“It’s been variable, but overall it’s better than we were expecting two and a half months ago,” he said.
Fullerton felt Bartlett would be busy right up to July 4. Futures have been ranging between $5 to $5.50 a bushel for the past couple of months. When they get further into the Kansas harvest and up into the northern states, Fullerton said, the market will begin to react and that will present a clearer picture of what this year’s harvest will translate to in terms of dollars.
Great Bend Co-op Manager Frank Reidl reports the elevator has been receiving truckloads of wheat since Thursday, June 18, and expects to be in full swing for the next 10 days. So far, he reports, the harvest is going very well, with test weights ranging between 58 and 63, and with the heat, moisture levels have been below 13.5.
Farmers are again reporting yields of between 30 to 50 bushels. Stripe rust came with the recent rains and took some toll, but on the plus side, the moisture helped fill out the grains, so all-in-all the harvest looks very good.
Reidl anticipates another busy weekend ahead, and feels most of the wheat could be cut in the coming week, provided the weather holds steady and everyone doesn’t get too tired.