Milo farmers were glad to see a killing frost finally hit the area this week.
Before the freeze, farmers were having a tough time getting the moisture below 16 to 17 percent. The preferred high end on moisture content at the grain elevators is between 14.5 and 14.9 percent although elevators will take it at 16 percent, said Pratt County Extension Agent Mark Ploger.
The hard freeze will finally kill the plant and allow the milo head to dry out so farmers can get back into the field.
Some farmers didn't wait for milo to dry down and were out cutting Tuesday afternoon, just 24 hours after the cold front came through and sent the temperatures into the mid 20s.
Normally, the farmers wait several days after a hard freeze because it causes the moisture to lock up inside the plant and go up into the head. Waiting will allow that moisture to dissipate and the moisture content will drop.
One farmer told Ploger he thought about trying to cut Tuesday but talked himself out of it.
About 65 percent of the milo crop has already been harvested in Pratt County. Those fields dried out earlier and farmers could get them harvested. Variety and location were key elements in determining if a field was ready to cut.
With all the moisture earlier this summer, some fields had plenty of moisture to keep the plant growing long after it normally have matured and stopped growing.
Those fields needed the freeze to stop growing and dry out. The temperature flirted around 32 several times but the hard freeze didn't hit until Monday night.
Milo in some fields is much taller then normal. It has gone down in other locations. Farmers usually wait a couple of days after a freeze to cut downed milo.
As far as the harvested milo, Ploger said he had heard that some test weights were pretty good and up around 60 pounds per bushel. The benchmark for milo is 56 pounds per bushel so 60 pounds is a pretty good yield.
With about 35 percent of the milo in the county yet to be harvested, Ploger said farmers would still be harvesting on Thanksgiving.
While milo harvest is finishing up, corn and soybean harvest are all but complete.
The yield numbers for both crops are up from last year with not too may harvest problems to report, Ploger said.
Crops got ready to harvest so fast this year that farmers have been moving from one field to another and haven't had a lot of time to report on yield numbers.
The cotton crop is close to harvest. The freeze will help the cotton farmers as well. No cotton modules have shown up at the High Plains Cotton Gin in Cullison yet but they should start arriving soon now that the freeze has hit the area.
The wheat crop looks very good across the county. The recent rains have provided ample moisture for growth. Some fields are doing so well that farmers are running cattle on wheat pasture, something they haven't been able to do the past couple of years because of the drought.