Haven At the small building in the shadows of the grain elevators here, activity is sparse.
Except, of course, for trucks of grain that exit the scales intermittently through the day in an effort to make way for the upcoming wheat harvest.
This, however, is soon to change.
Combines should be rolling in this area, where the fields are turning a little more golden every day thanks to the hot Kansas sun, in just a few weeks. And then the busyness of harvest will be evident to everyone.
Not that workers at Kansas’ elevators are twiddling their thumbs. Jay Brock, Mid Kansas Co-op’s director of southwest operations, will tell you there is still plenty to do before harvest unfolds.
“We’re getting ready for the rush,” Brock said from his office at the cooperative’s Haven branch.
That includes unloading about 100,000 bushels of wheat, much of which is heading to a mill in Wichita.
Wheat harvest should be in full swing across much of south-central Kansas in a couple of weeks — a time of year for farmers and elevator crews alike where the days are long and hot and there are few days off until the state’s staple crop is safely stored in the bin.
At Dodge City Co-op, crews are making repairs and updates to the chain’s 14 elevators, said General Manager Jerald Kemmerer.
“We’ll be doing things right up until it starts,” he said.
Brock said the crop should be average, at best. Moreover, wheat acres are down 15 percent.
Thanks to rains, Kemmerer’s region should see an above-average harvest - a welcome for southwest Kansas farmers.
“We’ve had some real cool temperatures,” he said. “We caught some needed showers. It has allowed the wheat to fill.”
The only downfall at present might be disease, Kemmerer said. Stripe rust is evident in some fields - a problem plaguing other fields across Kansas.
Dennis Carroll, assistant manager at OK Co-op Grain in Kiowa, the small Barber County town on the Kansas/Oklahoma border that typically is the first to take in wheat, said lack of rainfall has hurt some of the acres planted to wheat - calling it a below-average harvest.
For now, he said, it’s just a waiting game. He expects cutting to begin around June 10.
Meanwhile, as harvest nears, prices continue to fall.
Wheat at the elevator was $3.64 on Wednesday. In Hutchinson, prices had fallen below $4 at Irsik and Doll.
Wheat prices fell to the lowest in almost eight months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For Kansas, the price is nearly $2 below what it was last year.
In Haven, Brock figured harvest was still a few weeks away. Kemmerer estimates harvest wouldn’t get started until around June 20.