This Summer's Wheat Harvest A 'Sprint'

By: Rye Addis Email
By: Rye Addis Email

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The folks at the Hansen-Mueller Providence Facility will be seeing a lot of trucks pulling through over the next two weeks. This season's wheat harvest has kicked into full gear.

"We're getting into the heart of the harvest where we're running 120-150 loads a day, so it's become more and more of a sprint," says Jay Garetson, the facility's general manager. He has been very pleased with this summer's wheat harvest.

"Out here, things look really good."

But he notes a lot has changed in his 30 years of farming.

"Historically, wheat harvest could last six weeks or longer," adds Garetson. "Over the years, as we've gotten into mechanization, higher speeds, and bigger combines, that window has compressed. Probably 85% of the bushels in a given area in Kansas will be harvested within a two-week period."

New wheat varieties that mature closer together, plus ideal hot, dry weather, mixed with major technology advances... It's not wonder that it takes one-fourth the time to harvest than it once did.

"You've got combines that have gone from harvesting 500-1,000 bushels an hour to (combines) that are now harvesting 2,000-3,000 bushels an hour."

In addition to having a good harvest this year, Garetson also says Western Kansas may be a little ahead of schedule compared to Central Kansas due to the region's heavy rainfall. In fact, Southwest Kansas might even be a little ahead of the average.

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