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Kansas winter wheat woes

Kansas winter wheat woes

By Scout Nelson

For the past five weeks, Kansas has seen its winter wheat crop consistently rated as below average in the nation. According to the USDA Crop Progress report, 35% of the crop is now in poor or very poor condition. The primary culprit behind this decline? Poorly timed extremes in weather conditions.

Christopher Redmond, assistant meteorologist at Kansas State University, points to a series of weather fluctuations that have wreaked havoc on the state's wheat fields. Dry conditions in the fall hampered crop emergence, followed by a wet winter that further limited growth due to colder temperatures.

Despite expectations of sufficient soil moisture after the wet winter, spring brought surface moisture limitations due to increased winds and atmospheric moisture demands.

These varied conditions have particularly affected central and western Kansas, with some farmers experiencing wheat failures. The situation was worsened by poorly timed late freezes as the crop emerged ahead of schedule due to earlier warm temperatures. Redmond notes that while some moisture has begun to arrive, much of the damage for the season has already been done.

Local farmers in the region echo these sentiments. One farmer identifies drought as a significant factor impacting the crop, with a dry spring reducing head size and a mild February affecting soil moisture supplies. Farmers, despite facing nonexistent subsoil moisture after dry weather in February, expresses optimism about the crop's overall condition compared to last year's total failure.

Kansas farmers are dealing with difficult weather patterns, trying to save what they can of their winter wheat crop amidst changing weather.

Photo Credit - gettyimages-dleonis

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Categories: Kansas, Crops, Wheat, Weather

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