From the Ground Up “Winter Wheat Harvest”

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If you’ve driven through some of the rural parts of our area and noticed amber waves of grain blowing in the breeze, it’s winter wheat that hasn’t been harvested. The rains that we received in May have caused a couple of problems. Jay Wilder farms in the Brazos River Bottom in Burleson County.

“We need the ground to dry but with the cloudy weather and the rain that we’ve had, the grain needs to dry some as well. You can take and bite it and there’ll be some grains that will be exceptionally hard. They’re ready to go and you’ll have some that aren’t quite as mature that will be a little softer. And what that does is it runs the moisture up in the sample and they do not want it over fourteen percent moisture. Anything over that there’s a dockage because they’re going to lose weight.”

Wilder says a visual inspection can also help determine if the wheat is ready.

“Kind of a way you can tell is like these heads are turned over, they’re typically dry, ready to go. These heads that are still standing straight up aren’t quite as dry, so you can kind of visually look at it and kind of get an idea from there as to how it’s progressing along. It doesn’t take very many of these erect ones to offset your moisture quite a bit. When you start harvesting it’s typically going to be a little higher moisture and as you go along it changes and usually gets a little lower.”

Wilder says that he’s also found a use for the wheat straw.

“After we harvest the wheat, where we don’t go in and double crop we don’t cut it down as low and we’ll go back in and sometimes harvest that stubble as, use it as, bale it up like hay and what you can do with that is, typically what we do with it anyway is we use it for bedding purposes at cattle shows.”