Wheat combining in full operation

Combining has begun in earnest in the region. It will continue for approximately three to four more weeks.

Harlan Moos, local combiner, is running two machines almost non-stop. His crew uses two combines, which unload on the move into a tractor-pulled grain cart, which is unloaded into a semi-truck hopper. Moos said that doing so on-the-move is equivalent to having a third combine.

"Our pits have been pretty much non-stop," said Jay Baxter, site manager for the Philip Cenex Harvest States elevator. Truck hoppers have been parked overnight, waiting to dump and get back to the combines first thing in the morning.

"At the beginning of harvest it's really up and down, but we're really apprehensive about protein being down because of the wetter conditions this season," said Baxter. "The average yield is too early to tell. It looks good, but you never know until you get out in the field. So far, the average moisture content has been coming in good and dry. The test weights are average or higher." A U.S. pint of wheat flow is mathematically converted to a bushel basket measurement. Standard is 60 pounds per bushel of winter wheat. So far, the average has been around 62 pounds.

Some farmers leave the stalk on the ground as a moisture barrier and to help delay erosion. Some farmers bale it. Each side of the philosophy of plowing versus no-till farming has its pros and cons. No-till seems to be becoming the prefered method for this region. Selling most of a farmer's crop now, or holding most of it for several months, is also a difference of opinion. Sometimes it is a simple thing such as a necessity for immediate cash, or lack of storage capability, or choosing to not invest in retroactive storage costs.