This is perfect weather to harvest wheat. The days are long, warm and dry, with little wind.
On a recent trip through northeast North Dakota, I saw dozens of combines roaring through wheat fields. Chaff billowed out in great clouds and hung heavy in the air.
Yields. though erratic, are pretty good on balance. Quality is excellent.
Area farmers have mixed emotions right now. They’re worried that the hot, dry weather will further stress drought-damaged row crops. But they’re also enjoying wheat harvest.
In an ideal world, farmers will finish wheat harvest in the next day or two — then receive 2 inches of slow, gentle rain for the row crops.
Wheat harvest is in full swing across much of the region. Farmers and commodity group officials tell me yields are better than expected.
Normally, farmers are ambivalent about receiving rain when wheat harvest is going strong. On one hand, they want to get off their wheat in good order. On the other, they want rain for other crops that are still growing and that will be harvested later.
There’s no ambivalence this summer. Rain is much more important than keeping the combines going. That alone tells you how short of moisture the region is.
Wheat remains the area’s most prominent and widely grown crop. So a documentary movie about harvesting wheat should be well received in this part of the world.
Conrad Weaver, an independent filmmaker based in Maryland, is making a documentary that “will encompass a 10-state region and showcase the lives of hard-working American families, who spend as many as 100 days each year traveling from state to state harvesting the wheat that feeds the world,” according to information from the movie’s web site, http://wheatharvestmovie.wordpress.com/.
The movie, which doesn’t have a name yet, is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2014. To watch a promotional trailer for the film, go to http://wheatharvestmovie.com.