The start of the 2008 wheat harvest in Pratt County is about three weeks, maybe.

“Right now we’re three weeks out,” said Rex Robinson, manager of the Sawyer Farmers Co-op Equity. “At least that’s what it looks like. The weather is going to have a lot to do with it.”


The start of the 2008 wheat harvest in Pratt County is about three weeks, maybe.
“Right now we’re three weeks out,” said Rex Robinson, manager of the Sawyer Farmers Co-op Equity. “At least that’s what it looks like. The weather is going to have a lot to do with it.”

Wheat needs cool temperatures and good moisture to fill as it should. Weather conditions are good for now but they will cause some rust problems although they are not expected to be bad, said Pratt County Extension Agent Mark Ploger.

The abundant moisture has caused the wheat to go down in a few fields but at this stage of growth as soon as the wheat dries out it should stand up again, Ploger said. 
The Pratt County crop is good overall and looks like it could produce close to 40 bushel an acre that is above 34 to 36 bushel per acre average for this area but that all depends on the weather.

If the temperature gets too hot too fast it can shrivel the berry and cut the yield. If temperatures warm up gradually harvest could start in about three weeks in mid June.
For now the crop has a good potential but Kansas’s farmers know that they won’t know their yields until the grain is in the elevator.

“I think we’re cautiously optimistic, again,” Ploger said. “But we need moderate temperatures.”

From listening to area farmers it sounds like it won’t make much difference which variety was planted, the yield potential looks similar for all varieties right now, Robinson said.

In Pratt County the head size is not as big as it has been in years past but wheat quality is expected to be good with a little rust and powdered mildew problem, Robinson said.
To get ready for harvest, the Sawyer Co-op has hired some extra help, is cleaning bins and doing some dirt work on railroad track siding. Robinson said he has seen fewer custom cutters going through area then usual.

The harvest is underway in Oklahoma. Near Hobart in southwestern Oklahoma the wheat is making 40 plus bushels per acre and the test weight is good 62 to 63 pounds per bushel, said Pratt custom cutter Randy Golden of Golden Rose Harvesting. 
Harvest is just getting started there and that is normal for the area. The weather has been hot, dry and windy although it was cloudy Wednesday morning and crews didn’t get started until afternoon, Golden said.

From what he saw as he drove to Oklahoma, Golden expects wheat harvest to start in the Pratt area in about three weeks but, again, that all depends on the weather.
The Kanza Co-op in Pratt and Iuka is ready for the harvest and expect it to easily be much better than the 2007 crop. It suffered a late season freeze that damaged the wheat so badly that some fields were never even harvested.

Over the past few years, harvest has started earlier than normal because of unusually high temperatures in the spring. But this year the crop should be ready about the normal time in about 20 to 25 days. Everything has it looking like it should be a decent harvest this year and probably above average, said Jim Bob Lewton, Kanza Co-op grain merchandiser.

The wheat developed to about the same stage in Barber County, said Laura Kessler, county executive director for the Farm Service Agency in Barber/Comanche Counties.
The wheat is still pretty green but it looks good and they are experiencing the same minor problems with rust.