Wheat harvest in Riley County nears completion

By Megan Moser

In most years, wheat harvest in Riley County wouldn’t have begun by this time in June. But the 2012 harvest will be complete by the end of the week, said Doug Biswell, grain merchandiser at Farmers Cooperative Association in Manhattan.

“We’re all but done,” Biswell said. “Normally, we haven’t even started yet.”

The harvest was 95 percent complete for the area on Wednesday, he said. A warm, dry winter and spring led to an early crop with high yields and good quality.

“It’s better than the last couple,” Biswell said. “We’ve had some weather problems the last few years — mostly it’s been too wet. This year, we haven’t had that problem.”

He said area wheat farmers would have liked to see a late rain a couple of weeks ago, but had good weather overall.

Among the three locations —Manhattan, Alta Vista and Onaga — the co-op will handle about 350,000 bushels of wheat. In the previous two years, the total has been closer to 250,000 bushels, Biswell said. For the state, wheat yield is expected to reach 387 million bushels, according to a Tuesday report from Kansas Agriculture Statistics, a branch of the Department of Agriculture. That’s a sharp increase over the 276.5 million bushels produced in Kansas last year.

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