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Rains swamp wheat harvest

News editor

Alan Hett of Marion said Monday what is on the mind of every farmer who has wheat to harvest: “I wish it’d stop raining.”

Torrential rain late Sunday into early Monday dashed hopes that combines would be moving into fields before the end of the week. Additional rain could push that back even further.

“If we would not have got any rain, we probably would’ve gone this week,” Hett said. “The main thing is going to be for the ground to carry the combine.”

Hett said there were “too many green heads” in his wheat to start cutting Saturday, when predicted rain didn’t materialize.

That was the case with much of the wheat throughout the county, Cooperative Grain and Supply grain coordinator Dick Tippin said. Trucks haven’t been rolling to the Hillsboro location, although Tippin said CGS did receive a load Thursday from the south part of the county.

If it doesn’t rain again, Tippin said, harvest could start in earnest by Thursday or Friday.

Rain on mature wheat can reduce test weights, Hett said, which means reduced yields. Impact could vary according to the variety of wheat and its ripeness.

“They used to tell me an inch of rain is a bushel to the acre less,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s true or not.”

Rain delays also give weeds a chance to grow, Tippin said. Weeds can slow harvest and add to moisture content when loads are delivered, potentially lowering the price paid.

“Thinner stands, you can see some weeds coming through,” he said. “It makes harvesting more of a challenge.”

Hett also grows soybeans, and his already are planted. He said he knew of other farmers whose soybeans weren’t in the ground yet.

“They’re going to have to be planting soybeans while they’re harvesting,” he said. “They’re going to be awfully busy; there’s only so much of you to go around.”

Last modified June 17, 2015

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