Despite grim outlook, not all hope lost as Kansas wheat harvest begins

A Clearwater farmer is pleasantly surprised about the start of wheat harvest
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - For months, concerns surrounding the historic drought across Kansas grew with questions about how much wheat would be there for farmers to harvest. Some recent rain hasn’t been enough to alleviate concerns as combines begin to roll, but while the overall outlook is grim, not all hope is lost.

Friday, 12 News spoke with a Clearwater area farmer who said he’s pleasantly surprised about the start of his harvest.

Justin Noland’s ground north of Clearwater didn’t receive rain for months. But as a lifelong farmer, he didn’t change his approach.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried, but I try to stay pretty level,” he said.

Noland said wheat planting happened at the normal time, although it was “extremely dry.”

“We had really terrible planting conditions,” he said.

Noland’s son, Brett Noland, helping his father with the wheat harvest, described planting as “basically a gamble.”

“You throw some seed in the ground and hope you hit some rain and Mother Nature helps you along there,” he said.

For Justin Noland, the gamble to “stay pretty level,” despite the drought conditions paid off. He and his team started Harvest Thursday. They say they’re one of the first groups in the area to get combines rolling.

Recent rain gave Noland the edge he needed to start cutting. He and his son are taking on the wheat harvest with a motto guiding their combines.

“If you’re not first, you’re last,” Noland said. “We do everything that we can to get everything done in as timely a manner as possible.”