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Heavy rain stalls wheat harvest across Kansas

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The 2021 wheat harvest is idling across much of Kansas as farmers wait for a sunny, clear stretch to dry out their fields. Heavy rains last Friday and more to come this week mean farmers are left to wait until conditions are right to get back out into the fields to cut wheat.

For Butler County farmer Gordon Stands who farms land north of Rosalia, the issue isn’t the rain itself, but the quantity at which it came down late last week.

“We’re about two-thirds of the way along with harvest, up until the rain. And we got five and a half inches the other night, so that slowed things up a little bit,” he said.

But even if rain puts the harvest on hold, Stands isn’t complaining about the moisture.

“We were excited for the rain because we were dry and we raise a lot more crop when tit rains than when it doesn’t,” he said.

However, he said, getting more than five inches in such a short window of time was excessive.

“We just wish we could get a little at a time instead of all in one shot,” Stands said.

He said the impact adds a few more wrinkles into this year’s harvest, causing some of the wheat crops to be flattened and harder to get out of the fields. Getting so much rain in a short amount of time can affect the quality of the grains.

But as farmers across Kansas wait to finish cutting wheat, the rain is impacting another crop.

“We like to double-crop soybeans into the wheat and plant that after we harvest, so we’ll see how that goes,” Stands said. “Also, the beans that we did have planted, a five-inch rain on top of an emerging crop, that’s sometimes a problem.”

Moving he process forward won’t happen until the clouds part.

“I bet if we have the right weather conditions and the weather got warm, we should be able to finish up the wheat harvest in another two or three days,” Stands said.

It’s looking like that won’t happen until later this week.

“I bet we’re cutting wheat this year on the Fourth of July,” Stands said.

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