"This year was set up to be a real good year," Bryan Kennedy said. "Wheat was looking incredible, but Mother Nature has a way to humble us."
Kennedy works for Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Kingfisher County. As in much of the state, persistent, heavy rainfall is putting a damper on the year's wheat harvest, he said.
"If you would have looked at this wheat a month ago, there could've been test weights in 70s and 80s for bushels cut in this country," Kennedy said. "That's how good a lot of this wheat looked."
As of Friday, early reports show average weights around 61, he said, not bad, but not what it might have been.
Farmers are off to a late start. Most began cutting as recently as three days ago, wherever in the county it's dry enough to do so.
"If the ground can hold them, they're getting after it," he said. "They're going to fight and dig ... there's going to be some folks who get stuck, and there's going to be some four-wheel drives pulling combines out."
It's too early to provide specifics on yield or quality, too much time and opportunity left for the weather to turn.
Despite the rough luck of recent weeks, Kennedy expects a decent season will be salvaged in Kingfisher and elsewhere in Oklahoma.
"There's still going to be a lot of good wheat cut, especially the varieties that are a little later maturing," he said.
Further north, in Garfield County, the harvest is moving more or less at pace with Kingfisher.
The slow going is partly on account of excessive moisture, OCES northwest area agronomy specialist Josh Bushong said.
But in addition to water, cooler temperatures have been altering the harvest schedule, keeping some wheat from ripening on time.
Still, like Kennedy, Bushong expects to see a good harvest in the coming weeks.
Test weights are coming in between the high-50s and low-60s, and yields are looking "above average."
"We have some really good yielding wheat out there, and we have some really good test weights as well, with big kernels," he said, but this also raises concerns over quality.
"Typically with that combination of high yields and big seed, we are worried about having good protein content on that grain," Bushong said. If protein content is less than desired, the value of the crop could take a hit.
"Overall its been a great year on wheat, but we've had some issues with flooding," he said.
Some fields in Garfield and surrounding counties will be complete losses due to flooding, he said. This hasn't been as widespread a problem as expected, but some farmland in low-lying areas or located near bodies of water have taken serious damage.
"For the most part, our wheat was far enough along that the saturated soil wasn't enough to cause plants to die ... but we do have some stuff farther north into Grant County that will have more of a yield reduction," Bushong said. "When you get two-thirds of your yearly rainfall in two months, it's usually not a good thing."
In Alfalfa County the harvest hasn't begun yet, extension educator Tommy Puffinbarger said.
"As of today, I don't know anybody that's even tried (to cut)," he said. "We got another shower of rain last night, we got another shower of rain this morning."
There is the potential for good yields, but things are too wet, and cooler weather means some wheat isn't quite ready to take out of the field.
"There's some wheat that's ready, but we just can't get to it, and every time it turns around and rains a little bit it makes the straw tough," he said.
It's not just wheat Puffinbarger is worried about, but also the crop for which the county gets its name.
"This has impacted the alfalfa in Alfalfa County also ... we usually cut alfalfa the last week of April, or the first week of May. There's some folks that have just now been cutting," he said.
More sunshine and a little bit of wind is just what the farmers need right now.
"If we get 90 degrees and 20 mile an hour winds, we'll have a lot of wheat ready pretty quick," Puffinbarger said.