Even before the April 12 rainy spell got under way, farmers in south-central Kansas were planting corn.
Marion County farmer Paul Penner started on April 1 and finished ahead of the rains. That's early for planting corn, but in recent years, planting corn early as paid off with those early fields tasseling out ahead of blistering hot weather.
Sedgwick County farmers Oran and Jeff Winter started ahead of the rains, took a break and were finishing up on April 22.
"It was a little wet when we started, but we're making some dust now," Oran Winter said shortly after noon as he guided his planter up and down a flood-irrigated field between Maize and Colwich on Wednesday.
"People say farming is hard work," he said. "These days it really isn't."
Well, hoisting those 60-pound bags again and again to fill the planter bins was a "little bit of work" he admitted.
"But once you get inside the cab, with the tractor self-steering, it's not nearly as exhausting as it used to be," he said. "You can plant all day and when it is dark, you aren't tired and aching the way you once were. It's gotten a lot easier."
Winter was hoping to finish planting corn on Wednesday so he and his wife, Debbie, could take off for some vacation time ahead of what he knows is a coming really, really busy season.
"Once you get into the season, you plant and ten days later, you're putting down herbicide and maybe you’re spraying wheat as well and then you are right up on wheat harvest," he said. "It gets really, really hectic and if you want some down time you'd better get it while you can."
As Oran planted corn on Wednesday, his son Jeff was spraying fungicide on wheat after discovering stripe rust on Tuesday.
"We've got some pretty good wheat potential and when we spotted stripe rust in the field, we wanted to get right on it," Oran said.
Regular rain since April 12, combined with daily highs in the 60s compared to the upper 70s and 80s before the rains started have improved conditions for rapid spread of stripe rust in wheat, pushing competing spraying rigs into the fields with planters.
Jeff said he hopes to finish up spraying wheat fields in a day or two -- provided more rain holds off for a few days. And after a few days, yes, more rain is more than welcome. Just no hail, please. And keep the winds under 60 mph.
Yep, folks, it is spring in Kansas.