What normally proves to be a busy and beautiful sight this time of year in the largest wheat-producing areas of the country stands starkly quiet amidst little-to-no harvest. Extreme drought has zapped wheat fields in the Plains states. In contrast, wheat growers in eastern Kansas and Missouri are harvesting at record pace, starting earlier than what many wheat farmers have ever seen. The same dry conditions that decimated wheat fields on the other side of the state have allowed some farmers to start harvest as early as a month ahead of time – and with good yields to boot. However, eastern Kansas only accounts for 10% of the state’s wheat production.

Now, in areas where visible cracks in the ground could be seen from every roadside, rains have arrived and are relentless. What wheat could have been salvaged is now out of arm’s reach as growers await the right field conditions for harvest. As the Kansas Wheat Tour revealed in May, wheat field abandonment is the highest it’s been in more than 20 years.

Read more on Kansas wheat challenges here.