A handful of farmers across the county got out into muddy fields Tuesday to begin test-cutting wheat.
“It’s been better than we were expecting,” Jess Whiteman said. “We’ve only cut 50 acres before we got rained out Saturday.”
He said the wheat had surprised him with yields between 37 and 45 bushels per acre, but he was unsure how the rest of the fields would fair.
“We’ll see if this keeps going,” he said.
If it weren’t for rains totaling nearly 1 inch, harvest would already be started, Phil Timken, manager of Peabody Mid-Kansas Cooperative, said.
“I think if we have no more rains then many will start cutting Wednesday,” he said Tuesday. “Between the wind and heat, I think it will be dry enough.”
The forecast, however, calls for an 80 percent chance of rain Thursday.
Many area farmers are waiting for the ground to dry to avoid creating large ruts, so after harvest the land can be used for double cropping or no-till crops.
Farmers in the Peabody, Marion, and Hillsboro areas began test cutting Saturday, according to local coops.
“It’s too early to have any yields,” Mike Thomas, manager of Marion Cooperative Grain and Supply, said. “Test weights were good. I don’t think harvest will be too terrible.”
He estimates yields will be between 25 to 30 bushels per acre with some being as high as 35. Last year some fields yielded 60 bushels per acre.
Timken and Hillsboro Cooperative Grain and Supply manager Jim Cross believe area farmers will be pleasantly surprised with yields, and that while recent rains may not have helped produce more grain, they may have helped produce larger kernels.
Saturday in Hillsboro the elevator received 17 loads with test yields around 58 to 62 pounds, Cross said. He termed that about average.
“It’s too early to tell, but I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”