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June 19


general-viewWe've got overcast conditions today and it sprinkled a little earlier this morning. A lot has happened since last week, even though by the looks of our field there doesn't appear like much happened. What do you think has happened? Yes, it is just about ready to harvest, but there's something else. Let's look a little closer.

100general-rowAll the plant stems in our row appear to have lost their green color and look ripe. Do you notice anything on the ground? We'll need to look even closer.

100seeds-on-ground-hailLook at all those kernels on the ground. How do you suppose they got there? (Clue: We had a severe hail storm Saturday evening the 16th.) If you guessed the hail storm did it you are correct! When hail stones hit the heads the grain is knocked out and it falls to the ground. Our field lost at least five bushels per acre due to the hail storm. Letís look at a damaged wheat head.
hail-damage-headYou can see from this picture how the kernels have been knocked from the different spikelets. Not all of the kernels have been knocked out, but there arenít many left in this head.


closeup-headThis head doesnít appear to be damaged but it has been. This head looks like itís ready to be harvested. How do you know when a field is ready to be cut? Well, you have to check the kernels to see if they are dry enough and you have to see how well the kernels can be removed from the head. Letís check this head.
100crushing-head-in-hand align=First, you take the head and smash it into the palm of your hand. That separates the grain from the head just like a combine would do. Check to see if any kernels remained the head. If there were, the head is too wet for the combine to thresh or separate the grain from the head.
100clean-almostNext, throw the head away and blow the chaff away from the grain.


clean-seedFinally, after you blow all the chaff away youíve got clean seed. Now, if you bite the kernels and they break, then itís ready to be harvested. And these kernels broke when I bit them! So, when the heads dry our field can be harvested, but the forecast is for more rain this week.


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