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  • Last modified 143 days ago (July 2, 2019)

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Harvest arrives, may not be as bad as thought

Staff writer

Drowned plants and weeds seemed to be posing the greatest challenges as temperatures rose to near 100 and combines began rolling through the county at the start of wheat harvest this past weekend.

Bernie Waner, 70, who started cutting on a 190-acre field northwest of Florence last week, was getting yields of almost 50 bushels an acre Friday — but not as good in other areas of his field.

Blackened spots showed where plants had been standing in water, and wheat heads were empty.

“The wet weather ruined it compared to what it could have been,” said Waner, who has a Peabody address and hauls his wheat to Marion.

The area received 9 to 10 inches of rain in two weeks, including five inches the previous weekend.

Waner was surprised the ground was dry enough to carry his equipment.

Test weights were lighter than the desired 60 pounds, but “it’s a lot better than I thought,” he said.

Waner has 250 acres of corn, which he said are looking good. All but 25 acres of his 700 acres of soybeans were planted. Crop insurance will cover the prevented planting, he said. He will put the 25 acres into wheat in the fall.

Weeds were showing up in some of his wheat fields, but he thought he would get it all cut before they became a problem.

“Any delays would be bad,” he said.

Elevator manager Nathan Fish at Cooperative Grain and Supply in Hillsboro said farmers are reporting yields anywhere from 20 to 80 bushels an acre.

Low-lying fields sustained flood damage.

Fish estimated the harvest in the area to be 60 to 70 percent complete.

“Wheat acres are down and bushels are down from what they used to be,” he said.

Harvest in northern Marion County was just beginning this weekend, so Agri Trails elevator operators had no estimates on yields.

“I think it’s OK but not great,” Lincolnville manager Perry Gutsch said of the crop. “The trucks are not coming back fast enough.”

Marion elevator manager John Ottensmeier said some of the wheat he received Sunday was wet.

Yields on upland wheat have ranged from 40 to 50 bushels an acre, but may not be as good on the bottoms, he said. Quite a few loads have weighed 60 pounds.

The elevator took in 77,000 bushels Saturday, and a little less Friday.

Ottensmeier estimated harvest to be at least halfway finished.

A lot of the wheat around Peabody isn’t ready yet, according to Mid-Kansas Co-op manager Chuck Knight. Test weights so far are 59 to 60 pounds a bushel.

He anticipates an average yield. About a third of the crop has been harvested.

Waner operates a 9770 John Deere combine with a 30-foot header and a 300-bushel grain bin.

Roger Williams helps him, pulling a 572-bushel Brent grain cart with a 9630 John Deere tractor on tracks. The cart delivers the grain to a waiting truck. Jerry Klein hauls the wheat.

Waner, 70, has been farming for 49 years. His father died when he was a senior in college, and he quit to take over the farm. He and his wife, Janice, have three grown children – Steven, Kevin, and Kristin — who graduated from Marion High School.

Waner said he lives in the middle of the proposed wind farm’s footprint.

“I want the towers,” he said. “They may just give us crumbs, but that’s what I’ve lived on all of my life.”

Last modified July 2, 2019

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