GREAT BEND, Kansas- Farmers have started wheat harvest in some parts of the state, but while they’re already dealing with a poor wheat crop, weeds popping up in their fields are also causing them headaches.
“The bigger the weeds get the harder it is to cut so it’s something you want to get the wheat cut as soon as you can, so so if that’s the field that’s ripe you’re going to cut it first and get it over and done with,” says David LeRoy, a farmer in Barton County.
Weeds in the wheat fields make it a lot harder for farmers to cut the crop and make their progress a lot slower. If a lot of weeds end up in the wheat crop, a farmer will make less money per bushel.
“Combines do a pretty decent job but you’ll get a few leaves and a few stems in there in with the grain, that’s when you tend to get dockages is when you get some of those parts in there,” says LeRoy.
The weeds aren’t just a problem now, but they can even affect how healthy a farmer’s future crops may be, with weeds taking moisture away from the soil.
Part of the problem is that weeds don’t dry out like wheat does, causing combines to work harder, and that slows down harvest, something no farmer wants.