Harvest exceeding early expectations

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
For most farmers, an early start and better-than-expected yields are characterizing this year’s harvest so far, according to Lyman Adams, general manager of the Cooperative Grain &

Supply.


“We started last Monday, about a week early,” he said. “I think it caught everybody by surprise, including the farmers. Everybody was thinking more toward the 15th.


“Harvest has started up smoothly,” he added. “You have your normal breakdowns, but things are rolling pretty smoothly.”


Given some early gloomy forecasts about this year’s wheat crop, local growers are finding good news in the fields.


“The quality (of wheat) has been really good and the yields have been about average,” Adams said. “I’ve heard of 40- to 60-bushel yields so far, on the average. We’ve been very fortunate, compared to some areas.”


Curtis Frick, manager of the Agri-Producers, Inc., elevator in Durham, hasn’t heard many yield reports from farmers in his area, but the test weight of the wheat has been excellent.


“I think it’s surprising people how good the quality is,” Frick said. “We’ve had test weights of over 60 pounds. Two of them came in 63 and even a little higher.


“If we can hold off the weather and keep the wheat from bleaching and getting lighter tests, I think everybody is pretty happy about it.”


For some farmers northwest of Durham, Saturday’s fast-building storm brought golf-ball-size hail.


Based on reports he had heard, Frick estimated the affected area to be about a mile or two wide and three-four miles long, starting about a mile west of Durham.


“It didn’t sound like it was a really big area, but it was big enough to ding some wheat ground and some row crops out here,” he said.


Frick said Monday a few farmers south of Durham thought they might actually finish harvest that day yet.


Adams, meanwhile, estimated that as of Monday, the harvest was about one-third complete in the CG&S market area, which includes elevators in Canada, Canton, Hillsboro, Lehigh and Marion.


“Harvest is going along pretty well, but we’ve got a lot of bushels to come in yet,” he said.


The only concern Adams voiced about this year’s crop is the appearance of an unusual wheat rust.


“What we have is steam-streak rust that blew up from Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s not something we’ve had much of before.


“As I understand it, this stuff blew in on the south wind early this spring and we were susceptible to it,” he said. “When you have a damp May and June, you always get some rust, but we haven’t this type of rust before.”


Stem-streak rust strips the plant of flag leaves and ultimately kills it, Adams said. It has appeared in several varieties of wheat, but variety 2137 has been the most susceptible.


Adams said he doesn’t know if stem-streak rust will be a repeat offender next season.


“It depends on the weather and how the winter does, and what happens south of us,” he said.


Adams said elevator storage space shouldn’t be a problem this year.


“There’s plenty of storage in terminals,” he said. “We started trucking on Monday from our locations. We’ve got to move some grain.


“It’s going to be wild the next couple of days, depending on the weather,” he added. “If we can dodge the rain, we can get done this week.”

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