ONIDA (AP) - Winter wheat harvest is under way in the central part of the state as South Dakota farmers begin to see the first of the major 2011 crops heading for the bin.
With dry, hot weather helping push the harvest, things are moving fast and combines are running steady.
"We've had pretty decent weather - the rains left us alone," said Jerry Whitney, a custom harvester from South Shore working in the Onida area.
"It's a pretty fair crop, but maybe not what they expected," Whitney said. "Most of the crop is running in that 40- to 50-bushel range."
Whitney and his crew started in Texas and Oklahoma in May, but finished the drought-stricken crop there earlier than normal and returned to South Dakota the last part of June. They headed to Onida last week to start the South Dakota swing.
"We've cut about 1,000 acres so far," Whitney said. "We're about wrapped up here with what we have to do."
Whitney said the winter wheat crop in that area is tall and cutting well in most cases, although there are some weed problems and some scab has shown up in a few fields.
"It's just about a perfect crop for cutting," he said. "The fields are in good shape and very little mud, so that helps.
"There's a lot of wheat out here, but the yield is a little less than expected. But it's a pretty good crop."
Whitney's crew is not alone