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The train hasn't quite left

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By Holly Martin

At this time of the year I’m usually shouting, “All Aboard!”

I am asking you to follow along with us on the All Aboard Wheat Harvest Tour sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. But this year, the train hasn’t quite left the station yet.

We didn’t let that stop us, though, from re-introducing you to some our correspondents on page 1B. We are fortunate to have all five of our correspondents returning this year. Jada Bulgin, the Zeorian family, Emma Misener, Stephanie Osowski, and Megan Roland have invited us along on their journey through America’s bread basket in 2013.

As you will remember from previous years, readers will be able to follow our correspondents on our blog www.AllAboardHarvest.com. Daily updates from the crew will help us understand how harvest is going, get a feel for the wheat crop and allow us a glimpse at life on the road with a custom harvesting crew. The blog will also showcase photos and videos from the crew as well as feature additional wheat harvest–related information.

Followers can also keep up with the crew here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/allaboardharvest

Flickr: www.flickr.com/allaboardtour

Twitter:

www.twitter.com/allaboardtour

Instagram: hashtag #aawh13

And of course we will have a weekly synopsis here in the pages of the Journal.

While each year is very different on the wheat harvest road, this year promises to be very different from 2012.

This week a year ago, Jada Bulgin with Hoffman Harvesting had already been in Texas for two weeks. They cut their first wheat on May 10.

This year, Jada is still at home in South Dakota preparing for their southern trip. She told us, “Harvest looks pretty bleak.”

And isn’t that the truth? Last year, it was the lack of moisture and the unseasonably warm temperatures pushed the wheat crop to mature ahead of schedule. This year, the severe freezes across the Southern Plains have stalled an already stressed crop.

In fact, many wheat producers in the Plains and north Texas are cutting their wheat crop for hay, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Further north, Oklahoma’s wheat heading was 79 percent complete, 19 points behind normal. Wheat in the soft dough stage was 28 percent, 35 points behind the five-year average.

Kansas wheat producers reported that their crop was 41 percent headed, well behind 100 percent a year ago and a 74 percent average.

But the results of the late harvest are very similar to the early harvest of last year. Only 7 percent of the crop last year was rated excellent, compared to 3 percent this year. In 2012, 36 percent was good, 35 percent fair, 16 percent poor and 6 percent very poor. In 2013 the condition was 25 percent good, 30 percent fair, 21 percent poor and 21 percent very poor.

We hope as the crews head out and get cutting there are some pleasant surprises in the hopper. One thing is for sure, All Aboard will allow us an up-front view of harvest. Don’t miss it.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at hmartin@hpj.com.

Date: 5/27/2013



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