ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Now that Mother Nature has provided the sunshine and heat to get the combines rolling, how is the 2002 harvest going?
In a phrase, “It’s all over the board,” Lyman Adams, general manager of Cooperative Grain & Supply said Monday afternoon.
The best news is that farmers are in the field.
“The weather is turning to the positive side,” he said. “It’s cooperating now. The grain has dried down. The biggest problem, up until this week, has been fighting the mud.”
Adams said Saturday was the biggest day so far with about 280 loads dumped at the CG&S elevator in Hillsboro.
“That’s a pretty good size-not a record, but for as much mud and stuff as they’ve been fighting, it was a fairly good day,” he said.
What’s all over the board, Adams said, is the quality of the grain and the yield.
“We’ve had some 47-pound test weight and some 60- and 61-pound test weight,” he said. “We’re probably averaging around 57. The last several years, we’ve had 60-plus pounds test weight.
“It depends on whether the field got hit by disease or not,” he added. “We’re definitely having some fields that were stressed with disease and have a lighter test weight.”
Yields have been all over the board, too, he added.
“Overall, it looks like it’s going to be an average or slightly above-average harvest,” he said.
As of Monday morning, Adams said he and his staff estimated the harvest was about 40-percent complete.
“By the end of the week, we should be all but done, except for maybe some of the more severe mud holes,” he said.
Even though test weights and yields have been less than stellar, Adams said farmers have been encouraged by rising wheat prices in recent days.
“The price has shot up to over $3 (per bushel), which is the first time in several years,” Adams said. “It rallied this past week, which is unusual during harvest-but at the same time, it’s probably a reaction to a poorer harvest even in spots where it looked like it would be promising, and some spots where there is no harvest at all.
“We waited for the rally all winter,” he added. “Trends indicated it was supposed to be over $3 wheat this spring, but we never got above $2.60 to maybe $2.82. Now in June, with harvest going on, I guess the news finally soaked in about the wheat problem.”
As for his end of the operation, Adams said the harvest is going smoothly.
“We always have to ship out because we are short on space even on an average crop,” he said.
“So we are moving some loads out but nothing more than normal. We started Saturday shipping some trucks out.”