The Kansas wheat crop is marching backwards in productivity, thanks in part to the impact of long-term drought in southwest Kansas.
The May 6 Crop Report from Kansas Ag Statistics indicates that 60% of the crop is rated Good to Excellent. That’s still positive, but the negative is that the wheat crop for southwest Kansas farmers is getting worse by the day. Eleven percent of the state’s wheat is in poor to very poor condition.
Kansas Wheat Commissioner Rich Randall, Scott City, says many farmers in the area may not even harvest their 2012 wheat crop. Insurance adjusters are making the rounds in that area of the state, evaluating whether the crop is viable.
Soil moisture is running out in this area of Kansas; last year, it was mired in prolonged drought, yet received some late fall/winter precipitation to help get the wheat crop established. Yet, the crop has just plain run out of moisture (during last week’s Wheat Quality Tour throughout Kansas, agronomist Jim Shroyer says wheat uses 0.30-inches of precipitation per day during this pivotal time of the growth cycle).
Adding insult to injury, freeze damage is beginning to appear in some fields. Ron Suppes, Kansas Wheat Commissioner from Dighton, says freezing temperatures occurred a few weeks ago and have wreaked havoc with some of the earlier-planted wheat.
Suppes took the photos in the gallery below. The white heads are indicative of freeze damage to wheat; these heads will have no kernels in them.