Wheat Harvest: The Race Against Time

The 2020 wheat harvest is moving into central Kansas.

Here is a map of where winter wheat is grown and the current location of the harvest, so far. For those unfamiliar, winter wheat is planted in September and October and harvested from early May (south Texas) to July in northern areas.
Ideal conditions for wheat =- moderately wet until about 2 weeks before harvest and then farmers want it dry and hot. For the last ten days, conditions for the harvest have been extraordinarily good since June is peak thunderstorm season over most of this area.

Things are going to, unfortunately, going to turn around late Thursday through Sunday night with a period of wet weather. Here is where the thunderstorms are forecast first to develop Thursday afternoon. This is the forecast radar for 7pm Thursday.

Here is the ECMWF model's forecast of rainfall for the area where the harvest is currently concentrated. The forecast is valid until 10am Monday. Although the model's rainfall amount forecasts sometimes have a bias on the high side, a stalled stationary front in June in the central Great Plains is typically a very wet pattern.

While there might be a break late Monday into Wednesday, the model shows more rain - possibly heavy -- late next week and into the following week. This is the rainfall forecast from Monday afternoon (22nd) until the following Saturday.

This may bring the harvest to a half -- not to mention the potential for hail-producing thunderstorms from time-to-time.


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