Despite various amounts of rain and snow throughout Kansas since Christmas, the Kansas wheat crop is in poor shape, based on reports from directors of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and personal observations occurring Jan. 15-Jan. 21.
KAWG directors met Jan. 15 at a board meeting in Manhattan; the wheat crop ranges from good condition on directors’ farms in Stafford, Dickinson and Mitchell counties, to very poor in western Kansas.
David Schemm, who farms near Sharon Spring, says wheat plants are brown right now, when usually they have a green cast in the winter dormancy period. He dug up a few brown plants, planted them in buckets of dirt and let them thaw out…after several days, they became green again, albeit sans a lot of plant vigor. “Still, there is a little life in those plants,” Schemm says.
Richard Kvasnicka, who farms in Logan County near Winona, says the crop looked better with a layer of snow on top of it a few weeks ago. The snow cover didn’t last long, and between snow and rain, just 0.70-inches of precipitation fell on these dry soils. He says the root systems are poor, the crop has very little tillering, and the ground cover is minimal, which leaves it prone to blowing.
In the Kansas Crop Progress Report dated December 31, the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service says the winter wheat crop is rated at 1% excellent; 23% good; 45% fair and 31% poor to very poor. Twenty-one percent of the crop has at least light wind damage; 15% of the crop shows at least light freeze damage. It appears as if the crop is in worse shape than that now.
2012 was the third driest year on record, which has parched the Kansas top- and sub-soil levels. With perfect weather conditions from here to harvest, Schemm reckons he will achieve an average crop at best. At worst; well, no one wants to think about that.