Salina Farmers in north-central Kansas might be planting soybeans this time of year, seeding gardens, even mailing graduation announcements — anything but greasing combines.
This year it’s different, maybe even unprecedented.
A balmy late winter and spring startled the wheat crop into an early awakening, and now has folks in the grain game gearing for a wheat harvest two or more weeks sooner than normal.
Most crops are ripe and ready by mid-June, but this season, some are predicting that combines could roll into Saline County during the last week of May, or no later than the first week of June.
In more than 70 years of farming — first as a boy in McPherson County and now in western Saline County — Quenten Swenson cannot recall harvesting wheat before Memorial Day.
“It’ll be very possibly during the last week in May, depending on the weather,” said Swenson, 90. He anticipates an “above-average crop as long as we don’t get any hail.”
Farther south in Oklahoma and Texas, the annual wheat harvest campaign has begun.
The grain is carrying 10 to 12 percent moisture, dry enough to store in an elevator, testing at 58 1/2 to 60 pounds a bushel — the industry standard is 60 — and yielding from 40 to 60 bushels to the acre.