Harvest is underway in Pratt County and surrounding southcentral Kansas wheat fields

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Depenbusch Farms unload the first of their 2021 wheat crop in southern Kingman County on June 15. Pratt County farmers began bringing in wheat to the Coats Elevator on June 17. Wheat harvest is undeway.

Farming cycles are well-know to town and rural residents alike in Pratt County and surrounding southcentral counties of Kansas, yet every year excitement anew builds as all eyes watch for wheat harvest to begin, usually mid-June. 

Joyce Depenbusch and family who farm on the far southeastern edge of Pratt County and in Kingman County have hit the wheat fields first in the area and are reporting great results.

“Our first fields have had high protein and very high test weights,” Depenbusch said.  “But the dry early spring impacted the size of the wheat head and so the yield will probably not be as high as in some past years. We have just gotten started, however, so time will tell." 

For Pratt County, wheat harvest didn’t begin for a few more days, with the first truck coming into the Coats Elevator on June 17. Rex Robinson, the general manager for the Coats Branch of Kanza Coop said that this last week has been spent getting everything ready for the harvest rush. 

Although the past several days have seen temperatures rise over 100 degrees, wheat farmers and their crews will be moving and doing things outside now more than any other time of the year. Caution is advised as roads and fields fill with combines, grain carts, and semis getting ready to complete the marathon that is wheat harvest in Kansas. 

Depenbusch, who married into the farm life 36-years ago, said that the atmosphere during harvest time is completely different for her family, and while it is  the busiest time of the year, it is also by far the most enjoyable as generations come together during harvest. 

“I enjoy feeling more a part of the farm work and using the skills of truck-driving to get grain to the elevator,” Depenbusch said. “Meal times with the children coming in are also enjoyable.” 

The Depenbuschs farm near St. Leo, in Kingman County, and have been farming there for generations. For them, harvest began on June 15, but Depenbusch said that she recognized some other families had also began cutting wheat near St. Leo a day or two earlier.