Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Christian County Wheat Field

Kentucky's contribution to the breadbasket

This field of winter wheat in eastern Christian County, KY, is a large field for this part of the state. When the wheat is harvested, the farmer will probably plant soybeans. We have a long enough growing season here that the soybeans will make a crop before frost.

I read in the Kentucky New Era, our local newspaper, that some farmers are concerned about the recent  excessive rainfall hurting the wheat. I don't know much about wheat farming, but I suppose mold-like diseases could develop. Also, the wet, heavy heads could bend the stems over, making the field difficult to harvest and cutting the yield.

If the wet, cool weather continues, one of the biggest concerns will be getting the wheat crop out of the field. It's very muddy right now. That's why I took this photo from the edge of the road, getting some tall grass in the foreground, instead of wading out to the edge of the field where the photo would have been all wheat.

Our situation right now is surprisingly similar to the May 28th, 1892, crop report in the New York Times.
 Kentucky -- Rainfall excessive; temperature and sunshine deficient; weather too cool and wet; wheat yellowing; tobacco plants being set rapidly; corn on river bottoms still unplanted; fields weedy and need work; light frost 23d; no damage.

We don't expect a late frost, as was reported that year, but it is chilly. Overnight temps are expected to be in the low 40s, tonight and Monday night.

To my uneducated eyes, the wheat heads (photo below) look like they're filling out nicely. The wheat fields are taking on a yellowish color as the wheat heads form. That color will intensify as the wheat matures and dries. In just a few weeks, we'll have "amber waves of grain."

A report on the 2009 US winter wheat crop

Related posts in the Prairie Bluestem archives:
Winter Wheat
Wheatberry Bread
Mennonite Immigration from Russia to America
Thoughts About My Neighbor's Wheatfield


Bill Harper said...

I didn't know that wheat was a major crop grown in Kentucky. When I think of agriculture in the state the first thing that comes to mind is tobacco. I like the photos. You are a very good photographer, Genevieve.

Genevieve said...

Really, it's surprising where wheat is grown. I wouldn't have thought of Arizona being a wheat growing state, either, but a reader sent me some photos of irrigated wheatfields around Phoenix after reading this post.

Bill, I only post the best of the pictures I take. Believe me, I take a lot more photos than I post. The nice thing about digital photography is that I don't have to buy film to take all those not-as-good pictures.

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