Wheat condition varies throughout region

5/11/2013

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Conditions of wheat in the area are varied after colder-than-normal temperatures and rare late-spring snows.

Warren Devore, at United Prairie Ag based in Grant County, said the crop this year is not going to be good.

"We experienced three weeks ago super-cold temperatures. That wasn't good for it,"

Devore said, adding that the irrigated crop is the most-affected.

"The jury is still out on some of the damage. But this wheat crop is hurt pretty bad," he said.

Devore said for the non-irrigated crop, the freeze added insult to injury.

"We already had a drought problem," he said.

Although the wheat is struggling, some producers still will harvest a crop.

"It's certainly going to be a lot less than last year. We don't need to miss any more rain," he said.

The wheat is about three weeks behind, he said.

"The wheat being late is not going to be conducive to average yields. But there's still some water in it, and there's still a chance for some of it. We are going to cut some wheat, but it's going to be hit and miss," he said.

Justin Ochs, agronomy division manager at Skyland Grain in Johnson City, said the condition of the wheat depends on the area it's in.

"Some areas look halfway decent. Some are going backwards. Irrigated wheat is starting to look a little worse than even two weeks ago," he said.

Ochs said it's green in some areas, but some brown spots are starting to show because of the dryness.

"And we definitely lost some from the freeze," he said.

Ochs said the crop will be smaller than last year.

"We cover up into Syracuse and north. There are quite a few that have gotten zeroes from the insurance adjusters. There's not going to be anything harvested there," he said.

At Scott Co-op in Scott City, Gary Friesen reported Friday that the wheat crop was improving.

"We got a little bit of rain this week and I think it looks better. We struggled with drought conditions and that's had an impact. We've had three freezes on this wheat, so I would guess there's some freeze damage," he said.

But the little moisture Scott County did receive the past few weeks have added up.

"We do feel better about the crop," he said.

Friesen said Scott County has lucked out with the recent rains and that other southwest Kansas counties have been drier.

"Assuming we can get some moisture, the harvest will be decent. Not a bin-buster, but good, some good prospects," he said.

Rain and snow this year have helped moisture along, but the region remains in a drought.

May precipitation in Garden City totaled .54 inches, .24 inches off the normal value.

Since March, Garden City has received 1.08 inches of precipitation, which is a 2.88 inch departure from the norm. The normal amount for March until May 9 is 3.96 inches.

From Jan. 1 until now, Garden City has received 1.42 inches of precipitation, which is off 3.42 from normal. The normal amount is 4.84 inches.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the classification of exceptional drought expanded eastward from southwest Kansas because of little or no precipitation.

According to the report, released Tuesday, "This week's precipitation was a miss, hit, and miss in the northern, central, and southern Plains, respectively. Fortunately, temperatures averaged well below normal, six to 10 degrees, throughout the region, keeping the heat factor out of this week's equation, except in western portions of Texas, Oklahoma, and southwestern Kansas where highs topped 90 degrees early in the period.

"Unfortunately, the winter wheat crop, grown in much of the High Plains region, was rated poor or very poor in Colorado (56 percent poor), Kansas (40 percent poor), Nebraska (49 percent poor), Oklahoma (45 percent poor), South Dakota (62 percent poor), and Texas (74 percent poor), according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"The U.S. pasture and range conditions also are starting off very poorly on the strength of drought from California to the Great Plains. This is mainly because of the poor previous year when all sorts of pasture and rangeland condition records were set," the report stated.

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