Archive | May 2012

Winter Wheat Harvest Progress

Good morning, bloggers! Here’s an story from on how harvest is progressing.

Winter Wheat Harvest Progresses Amid Dry Conditions

Kansas: Last week, Kansas producers saw no relief from the dry and windy conditions while temperatures hit the triple-digits for the first time this year. Only 5 of the 53 stations recorded over one-half inch of rain for the week, while 30 stations received no precipitation at all. Hays led the State with 1.0 inch of rain, followed by Lawrence at 0.79 inch and Garnett at 0.77 inch. No stations in the North Central District received rain, only two stations in the South Central and Southeast Districts, reported precipitation last week, but both were less than a tenth of an inch, respectively, to receive rain, All stations had above normal temperatures again with weekly highs ranging from the upper high 80’s to 102 degrees in Hill City. Thirteen stations posted triple-digit temperatures, as record-breaking heat spread across the State. Producers averaged 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork because of the dry conditions. Topsoil moisture conditions continued to decline rapidly and were rated at 29 percent very short, 45 percent short, 26 percent adequate, and none in surplus. Topsoil moisture in the adequate category declined by 13 points compared to the previous week. Last year at this time, 37 percent of topsoil moisture was rated as short to very short. The Southeast District has the highest adequate to surplus rating at 50 percent. Subsoil moisture supplies also declined to 18 percent very short, 46 percent short, 35 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Many producers continued to be concerned with the effect of dry and windy conditions on row crops, while wheat producers prepared for an early harvest.Wheat harvest began in southern Kansas last week, as farmers had already reached 4 percent complete by Sunday, marking the earliest harvest start since data collection began in 1952. The second earliest harvest was in 1962 when one percent was harvested the week ending June 2. The crop continued to progress rapidly across the State in the hot, windy condition as 86 percent had turned color by Sunday. Forty percent of the crop had matured with the Central, South Central, and Southeast Districts reporting more than half of the crop matured. Wheat condition continued to decline and was rated at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 33 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Insect damage was rated 16 percent light, 6 percent moderate, and 1 percent severe while disease damage was rated at 28 percent light, 16 percent moderate, and 4 percent severe.

Texas: Parts of North Texas, the Panhandle and the Trans-Pecos received rainfall last week with totals reaching three inches or more in isolated areas. Most other areas of Texas experienced warm and dry conditions. Dry weather across much of the state allowed producers to continue small grain harvest last week. Wheat harvest was beginning to wrap up in some areas. In areas of North Texas, wet field conditions temporarily halted small grain harvest. Fungal diseases and armyworms were reported in some wheat fields.

Oklahoma: The Drought Monitor as of May 22nd showed a significant increase in the area rated as abnormally dry. Over two-thirds of the state is now rated as abnormally dry or worse and almost 14 percent of the state is considered to be in a drought, with moderate to extreme conditions. Warm temperatures combined with wind and lack of rainfall to produce the dry conditions. Very little rain was recorded over the past week; however some rain fell in isolated areas of the Panhandle and Southwest districts, with 1.2 inches recorded in Boise City for the week ending Sunday. Wind gusts as strong as 75 mph were recorded at Woodward on Friday, and sustained winds over 40 mph were recorded through northwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle. The warm and dry conditions continued to aid an early and rapidly progressing harvest of wheat and canola. Soil moisture conditions declined over the last week: 60 percent of topsoil and 62 percent of subsoil was rated short to very short. None was rated surplus. There were 6.6 days suitable for field work, due to the lack of rainfall. Harvest of all small grains and canola continued significantly ahead of normal, facilitated by warm and dry conditions. The wheat harvest was 41 percent complete by Sunday, 31 points ahead of the previous year.

Nebraska: For the week ending May 27, 2012, weather continued to impact crops in most locations with hot, dry, and windy conditions, while storms provided some much needed moisture in portions of central and northeastern Nebraska, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office. Hail and tornadoes damaged crops and property in areas of the state and some replanting of spring crops will take place. Pivots were running to aid in crop germination and emergence. Wheat was mostly headed and 22 percent of the crop was turning color. Temperatures averaged near normal in the northern half of the state and 3 to 7 degrees above normal in the southern half. High temperatures reached triple digits in several locations and lows of mid 30’s were recorded in the Panhandle. Heaviest levels of precipitation fell in the Central and Northeast Districts with accumulations of over 2 inches in isolated pockets. The Southeast District received little to no moisture. Wheat headed was 95 percent, ahead of 26 last year and 21 days ahead of 37 average. Wheat turning color was 22 percent. The impact of hot and dry conditions and low temperatures on wheat in the Panhandle is being felt. Wheat conditions declined and rated 3 percent very poor, 10 poor, 37 fair, 45 good, and 5 excellent, below 53 percent good to excellent last year and 64 average.

Colorado: Colorado experienced below average precipitation with above average temperatures last week. High winds were experienced on several days last week. Overall, the mountain snowpack is 7 percent of average. Farmers were allowed 6.3 days in the field for spring operations. Winter wheat progress increased to 99 percent headed, 48 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Twenty-six percent of the crop was reported turning color as of last week. The crop was rated in mostly fair to good condition.

Memorial Day Tribute

This is a special column from business consultant Jim Whitt of Tulsa, Okla. See Jim’s blog or visit his website,

The Kind of Country We Are: A Memorial Day Tribute

By Jim Whitt  

As this was our first trip to France we suffered from a perpetual state of directional disability. And that is how we met Michel. We wandered through the gate of a small cemetery not a stone’s throw from Omaha Beach in Normandy.  Michel did not speak much English but fortunately, Suedy, a friend of ours from the U.S. spoke a little French. So, with much hand signaling, exaggerated facial expressions and a few exchanges of French and English we were able to communicate. It turned out to be a most fascinating conversation.

Michel explained to us that he was eight years old when the D-Day invasion hit the shores of his village on June 6, 1944. Now, let me put this in perspective for you. In 1940, the Germans invaded France and occupied much of the northern half including Normandy, where Michel lived. He would have been four years old. So, for half of young Michel’s life all he had known was the tyranny of Nazi occupation and the Nazis were harsh taskmasters. France had to pay for the costs of the over 300,000 occupational Nazi forces. The French suffered greatly. The Nazis took what they wanted and the crumbs that fell from their tables are what the French survived on.

Oppression, shortages, hunger and malnutrition, especially among children, were a way of life in the Normandy countryside when the Allies launched an all-out invasion on the beaches of Normandy in what would prove to be the turning point in Europe during World War II. This would be the second experience with a foreign army in young Michel’s life. This one would prove to be very different – liberators instead of oppressors. He animatedly described in broken English and through gestures how American soldiers gave him chewing gum and candy.

I thought about the American soldiers Michel described. Imagine, they were the survivors of a blood bath on beaches not far from where we stood. Over 9,000 of their brothers-in-arms are buried in the nearby Normandy American Cemetery. And yet, somehow in the midst of this hell on earth, their battle-hardened hearts were still soft enough to show compassion for Michel and other children like him. These liberators who had sacrificed so much were willing to give away what little comforts they had to a child who had absolutely nothing to offer in return. It brings to mind these words by Colin Powell: “And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, ‘Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us?’ No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.”

Before we parted ways with Michel, he asked permission to kiss my wife Sondra and Suedy. Suedy said it was her first French kiss. No, not the kind you’re thinking about. It was the Charles De Gaulle variety – you know – the peck on each cheek. Then he shook hands with Gary (Suedy’s husband) and me. Michel gave us his address and asked that we write. We spent ten days in France and contrary to what we had heard about how the French dislike Americans, we met people like Michel who treated us wonderfully. Before you swallow the line about how all the French hate Americans, I’ll send you Michel’s address and you can write and ask him what he thinks. He’ll tell you about Americans who fought and died to liberate France and gave him chewing gum and candy – and asked for nothing in return. Nothing except enough land to bury our dead – and that is the kind of nation we are.

Editor’s Note: This was originally published May 28, 2008. I share it again as a Memorial Day tribute to all of our veterans both deceased and living and to those who serve in our military today. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid.

Crop Progress

Each week the National Agriculture Statistics Service puts out a crop progress and condition report for each state.

Here’s some information from those reports.


The Central, South Central, and Southeast Districts all reported at least 85 percent of the wheat crop had turned color by Sunday. Statewide, 63 percent of the wheat crop had turned color, well ahead of 4 percent last year and the 5-year average of 2 percent. Five percent of Kansas wheat had already matured with the South Central and Southeast Districts reporting 14 percent and 19 percent matured, respectively.

File photo.

Wheat condition continued to decline and was rated at 6 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Insect damage increased slightly to 19 percent light, 5 percent moderate, and 1 percent severe while disease damage increased to 29 percent light, 17 percent moderate, and 5 percent severe.

Kansas corn producers had only 2 percent of the crop yet to plant, about a week ahead of the previous year of 10 percent not planted and the 5-year average of 12 percent not planted.  Statewide, 80 percent of the crop had emerged with the eastern districts  reporting at or above 95 percent emerged.  Last year, 57 percent had emerged while the 5-year average was 54 percent.

The condition of the corn crop declined slightly to 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

Soybean producers reached 64 percent planted by Sunday, about two weeks ahead of the previous year of 41 percent and the 5-year average of 30 percent.  Twenty-eight percent of the soybean crop had already emerged well ahead of 10 percent last year and the average of 7 percent.

The sorghum crop was 28 percent planted as of Sunday, ahead of last year at 15 percent and the 5-year average of 12 percent. Eight percent of sorghum had emerged, mostly in the South Central, East Central, and Southeast Districts.


Colorado experienced below average precipitation with slightly above average temperatures last week. High winds, combined with the limited moisture, raise concerns over the availability of soil moisture later in the growing season. Farmers were allowed 6.5 days in the field for spring operations.

Small Grains: Winter wheat progress increased to 90 percent headed, 62 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Seven percent of the crop was reported turning color as of last week. The crop was rated in mostly good to fair condition.

Spring barley was 99 percent seeded and 92 percent emerged by the end of the week with the crop rated in mostly good to fair condition. Spring wheat was reported 98 percent seeded and 75 percent emerged at week’s end.  The crop was reported in mostly good condition.

Row Crops: Corn progress increased to 94 percent planted, 13 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average with 60 percent emerged.  The crop was rated in mostly good condition.


Field Crops Report: Corn planting neared completion at 98 percent complete, ahead of 91 last year and 92 average. Corn emerged stood at 78 percent, well ahead of 45 last year and 9 days ahead of 49 average. Corn conditions rated 2 percent poor, 20 fair, 71 good, and 7 excellent.

Soybean planting was 83 percent complete, ahead of 60 last year and 13 days ahead of 54 average. Soybeans emerged were 42 percent, ahead of 15 last year and 12 average.

Sorghum planting was 47 percent complete, ahead of 28 last year and 1 week ahead of 27 average. Sorghum emerged was 17 percent, ahead of 5 last year and 4 average.

Oats emerged were at 99 percent, well ahead of 82 last year and 93 average. Oats conditions rated 2 percent poor, 26 fair, 70 good, and 2 excellent.

Wheat headed was 81 percent, ahead of 6 last year and 19 days ahead of 11 average. The impact of hot and dry conditions and low temperatures on wheat in the Panhandle is being felt. Wheat conditions declined and rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 32 fair, 52 good, and 8 excellent, above last year’s 52 percent good to excellent but below 64 average.


Iowa farmers took advantage of another warm and dry week and planted crops at a rapid pace. As corn planting neared completion, farmers were able to focus more on soybean planting. Other activities included spraying crops and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 37 percent short, 55 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture rated 6 percent very short, 24 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.

File photo.

Corn planting now stands at 98 percent complete. A few farmers have reported having to replant some corn fields damaged by late April showers. Eighty-one percent of the corn crop has emerged, 1 week ahead of normal. Corn condition is rated 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 21 percent excellent.

Soybean planting advanced 46 percentage points statewide, and now stands 85 percent complete, ahead of last year’s 69 percent and the five year average of 60 percent.  Farmers in North Central Iowa planted 55 percent of their soybeans during the week, the largest increase in the state. Twenty-six percent of the expected soybean acreage has emerged, ahead of last year’s 16 percent and the five-year average of 13 percent.

*Note: To view the reports, click on each state’s name above to take you to a different website. Then, on each state’s website, go to the botton of the page, under publications, click ‘Crop Progress & Condition’ and click ‘Go.’

TheProfiler now available to the public

Good morning!

Servi-Tech Expanded Premium Services, LLC, or STEPS, has been working for the past two years on TheProfiler, a comprehensive soil moisture monitoring system.

Here’s TheProfiler:






And here’s the press release:

Contact: Jeff Kugler, Servi-Tech Expanded Premium Services, LLC CEO

Phone: (402) 362-9278


TheProfiler now available to the public

Imagine being able to remotely track how much moisture your crops receive and being able to maximize your irrigation dollars.

A new product from Servi-Tech allows producers to do just that.

TheProfiler, a comprehensive soil moisture monitoring system that uses telemetry from AgSense, is available immediately. It can be used throughout the United States

TheProfiler includes three soil moisture sensors that are set up to monitor soil depths of 12, 24, and 36 inches, a telemetry control box with cell modem, solar panel, mounting brackets, and hardware.

TheProfiler was created by Servi-Tech Expanded Premium Services, LLC, or STEPS.

Jeff Kugler, STEPS CEO, said TheProfiler was inspired by a few factors. The first, he said, is to do a better job managing irrigation by closely and precisely monitoring soil moisture. Other factors included the increasing cost of irrigation and the decline in the ground water supply.

“Ground water is a limited resource that we need to conserve so that future generations also have this resource,” Kugler said.

It has taken STEPS two years to develop TheProfiler, partnering with Irrometer and AgSense.

TheProfiler works like this:

  • TheProfiler takes a Watermark sensor reading, which monitors soil moisture, every 30 minutes.
  • Once the readings are taken, the data is uploaded to
  • The data is viewed in graph form. The user can view the data in a one day up to 30-day time frame, allowing analyzing short and long-term soil moisture trends.

TheProfiler is valued at $1,995.

The price includes all of the equipment, the first year modem subscription, and web access. The solar panel charges the internal battery in the control box, eliminating the need for any additional power source.

There is optional equipment, including a tipping rain bucket and an additional sensor to monitor either 6 inch or 48 inch depth.

TheProfiler is available for the current 2012 growing season. The product can be used throughout the United States. If your area has cell phone coverage, TheProfiler will work.

TheProfiler may be purchased by calling the Servi-Tech office at 800-557-7509 or by contacting Jeff Kugler at 402-362-9278. To learn more about TheProfiler visit

STEPS, LLC was formed in 2009 to pursue technologies that would benefit current and future customers in making their farm operations more profitable.

Servi-Tech was organized in 1975 by three farmer-owned cooperatives to provide technical service for agricultural producers in southwest Kansas. Today, Servi-Tech provides consulting to approximately 2,000 farmers across five states and over 1 million acres.

Servi-Tech Laboratories established its first laboratory in Dodge City in 1977. It has since opened the Hastings, Neb. Laboratory in 1999 and a third laboratory in Amarillo, Texas.  The labs test soil, water, feed, plant tissue, fertilizer, manure, and more.

AP: Wheat changing color in Kansas as harvest nears

From The Associated Press via Kansas Agland:

WICHITA – Winter wheat fields across Kansas are turning color, in still another sign that this year’s harvest will be especially early.

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that half the fields in south-central and southeastern Kansas have already turned color as the wheat continues to ripen three weeks ahead of normal.

Statewide, about 26 percent of wheat fields have turned color.

But the crop’s condition continues to decline, due largely to a shortage of rain in many of the state’s major wheat-growing areas.

The agency says that 16 percent of the Kansas crop is in poor to very poor condition. About 32 percent is rated as fair, with 41 percent rated in good shape and 11 percent in excellent condition.

Crop Condition and Report

Kansas Agriculture Statistics publishes a crop condition and report each Monday afternoon.

Here are some highlights of yesterday’s report:

  • Topsoil moisture conditions continued to decrease and were rated at 6 percent very short, 20 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies decreased to 6 percent very short, 25 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.
  • With only two districts reporting less than 90 percent headed, the Kansas wheat crop continues to progress three weeks ahead of the average.

  • Because of the heat and lack of moisture, the condition of the wheat crop continued to slightly decline and was rated at 3 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 47 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.
  • Statewide, 92 percent of the wheat crop has headed, well ahead of 29 percent last year and the 5-year average of 20 percent. Four percent of the crop has already turned color, mostly in the South Central and Southeast Districts.
  • Insect damage increased slightly to 20 percent light, 5 percent moderate, and 1 percent severe.
  • Disease damage  also continued to increase to  28 percent light, 15 percent moderate, and 5 percent severe.
  • Thirty-one percent of the corn acreage was planted last week in the West Central District, as farmers took advantage of the warm, dry conditions.
  • Nineteen percent of the soybean crop has been planted which is about a week ahead of both last year at 8 percent and the 5-year average of 5 percent.
  • Cotton producers  reached 10 percent  planted as of Sunday, ahead of 4 percent last year and the 5-year average of 1 percent.
  • At 60 percent, the first cutting of alfalfa is well ahead of normal as the 5 year average is only 2 percent.

To read more on crop conditions in Kansas, click here.

To find out how crops are doing in other states, check out these stories:

  1. Limited ‘Suitable’ fieldwork Days Last Week Across Midwest
  2. Southern Plains Winter Wheat Needs More Rain

Hastings Laboratory Makes the News!

Good afternoon!

Just a quick update to let readers know that our Servi-Tech Hastings Laboratory was featured in the news!

The Hastings Tribute ( wrote a column that appeared in Saturday’s newspaper about all of the odd-yet-interesting stories they’d heard after a storm rolled through town last week.

And guess what made the list?

As the column put it:

“And the story of a zoologist-turned-soil analyst rescuing a bunch of fish facing certain death. Yeah, that one surprised me, too.”

Thanks to the Hastings Tribune for telling our unique story!

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to check out The Hastings Tribune, @HastingsTribune.

And on a more serious note, our thoughts are with all of those who were affected recent bad weather. Dealing with nature’s aftermath is not usually fun, but we hope to put a few smiles on people’s faces by sharing our small fish story.