Wheat deliveries to most grain elevators in the county remain steady, indicating the 1990 wheat harvest still is in full swing.
However, this year's wheat has been "spotty" and does not appear to be as good as initially predicted, grain elevator employees say. Most of the wheat in the county is averaging lower-than-predicted yields and test weights.
Tammy Parris, scale operator at the Farmers Co-op grain elevator and mill in north Lawrence, said this morning that the elevator continued to take in "a fair amount" of wheat.
"It's not dead by any means," Parris said. "We've taken in quite a few (loads) this morning."
SHE ESTIMATED the elevator has taken in about 12,000 bushels of wheat each day since early last week. The grain has been dry and has been averaging an estimated 59 pounds per bushel, slightly behind the target weight of 60 pounds per bushel, she said. Crops taken to the north Co-op elevator have been producing between 45 bushels and 50 bushels per acre, the only report of higher-than-predicted yields.
Parris said things probably would remain steady until the weekend, when she predicted the number of trucks rolling through the elevator would decrease.
State agriculture officials predicted yields this year of 39 bushels per acre, but actual yields have been running closer to the county's yearly average yield of 35 bushels per acre.
The wheat has been within an acceptable moisture content range, but a lot of the grain has not weighed enough to qualify as No. 1 hard red wheat, on which wheat grain prices are based.
ROGER SPRACHER, an employee at Co-op's south elevator, also said this morning that wheat deliveries at the elevator have not lost pace, although the quality of the grain delivered has varied widely.
Spracher said the quality was "spotty" and called it only "decent" because of scattered rains and even some frost late in the wheat growth cycle.
Spracher estimated that the average wheat weight at the south elevator was about 57 pounds and that yields have been closer to 35 bushels per acre.
Down south, things appear to be moving along a little quicker.
Shorty Burgess, an employee at Baldwin Grain Co. in Baldwin, said this morning that harvest in the southern portion of Douglas County seemed to be 75 percent to 80 percent complete. Burgess said he based his estimate on the decreasing number of loads being delivered to the elevator.
BURGESS estimated the wheat taken in at the Baldwin elevator has averaged about 12,000 bushels a day and is weighing about 57 pounds per bushel. Crops have been averaging about 30-35 bushels an acre, he said.
Burgess did not know why the harvest was progressing faster in the southern portion of the county.
Steve O'Trimble, an employee at Midland Elevator just north of Lawrence, said activity there had slowed considerably compared to Monday. He said some farmers have told him they were finished cutting wheat, but much of the inactivity could be attributed to wet fields from last week's rains.
"It could pick back up this afternoon," O'Trimble said. "You never know."