The Douglas County 1990 wheat harvest is grinding to a rapid halt, say area grain elevator operators, who report wheat deliveries have dropped off sharply since late last week.
Elevator operators also say the county wheat harvest has been only average and not the record-setting crop state and local agriculture experts predicted.
Don Harris, manager of Farmers Elevator Co. in Eudora, said this morning that he had received about three loads of wheat by 10 a.m. today. Of the few farmers who delivered wheat to the elevator this morning, Harris said only one still had more wheat to cut and deliver.
"There are darn few left," he sadi. "We'll probably be finished in another day or two."
Harris described the wheat in his elevator as "fair," adding that the wheat quality was far below the banner quality predicted by agriculture experts statewide before harvest got under way. He attributed the disappointing quality to recent weather conditions.
"WE GOT TOO much rain," Harris said, explaining that damp wheat provides a breeding ground for disease. "We're too darn wet to be wheat country."
He estimated that the average test weight of the wheat delivered to his elevator was 56 pounds per bushel and ranged in extremes from 45 pounds per bushel to 63.5 pounds per bushel. The target weight for wheat is 60 pounds per bushel.
Harris said he had no idea how many bushels per acre farmers in his area were getting. And there was good reason he did not know.
"I didn't hear very many of them mention their yields per acre, which tells me they were no good," he said. "When the yields are good, you hear about them."
The county's average yield is 35 acres per bushel.
Melvin Lang, branch manager of the Lawrence Farmers Co-op north elevator, estimated this morning that the local wheat harvest was 96 percent complete.
"WE'LL PROBABLY get it all cleaned up in the next day or two," Lang said. Lang called the wheat in his elevator "average," and also said that above-normal rainfall amounts in the county hurt the quality of this year's wheat.
Much of the wheat delivered to the north elevator was diseased from the rain, which also decreases the test weight of the grain, Lang said.
Verlyn Gilges, office manager at the Baldwin Grain Co. in Baldwin, said this morning that deliveries to the Baldwin elevator had slowed dramatically and that he expects to receive his last load of wheat early this week.
Excessive rains also damaged the quality of wheat in the southern portion of the county, Gilges said, adding that yields down south ranged from 30 bushels per acre to about 45 bushels per acre.
BRIAN MORRAY, director of the Douglas County Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, said today that although the county's wheat crop was far from record-breaking, most farmers aren't compaining too loudly.
"For the weather that we had, most people are probably happy to get the wheat out," Morray said. "Most of them are probably fairly well satisfied."