Harvest to begin early

By Paul Harris

The hot weather has made Riley County Extension agent Greg McClure unsure of himself. McClure said he usually has a good idea of when the harvest will occur, but this year he’s been guessing.

His best guess is that Riley County farmers will begin harvesting in the next week, which puts this harvest in rare company. Most years, harvest begins between June 14 and June 20. Despite the early start time, McClure said this year’s crop is expected to be good.

Last year took a little bit of a hit, he said.

“This year’s crop will be back to those crops of the last few years,” McClure said. That might put it in the 50 bushel-per-acre category.

Some farmers in southern Kansas have already started their harvest. Kansas Wheat Group said 35 truckloads were delivered to the OK Co-op elevator in Barber County last week.

The current temperatures put the Riley County crop right on the pace to start in the next few days. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 80s and 90s during through Wednesday.

The high temperatures have encouraged the spread of a series of diseases, though.

Barley Yellow Dwarf, a wheat virus, has affected at least two fields in Riley County, McClure said.

The agent said he believes there are more affected fields.

Barley Yellow Dwarf is transferred from infected aphids to crops. The mild temperatures in the fall allowed the aphid to spread out and multiply.

Warmer temperatures have also helped aid some fungal diseases from spreading.

Those problems are limited, McClure said, and should have little impact on the total Riley County yield.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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