Drought before rain will have long-lasting effects

7/10/2014

By Roy Wenzl

By Roy Wenzl

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) — The drought that preceded recent rains has led to one of the worst wheat harvests on record — and will end up diminishing things for many people besides state wheat farmers, a Kansas State University climatologist says.

It will end up affecting food availability, and the overall economy, said Mary Knapp, a service climatologist in the university's agronomy department, in a prepared statement from the university.

"The rains came too late to benefit the wheat production, so we may have our lowest wheat harvest on record," said Knapp.

The drought will also hurt cattle farmers, who have had to cut down on their herds because of poor grass growth in pastures, she said in the statement.

"Then it starts trickling into the community because if you have wheat farmers with very low production, they most likely also received very low income," Knapp said in the statement. "That farmer is not going to invest in machine upgrades or make as many purchases in the community. That will cause the economy to drag, which may result in a ripple effect that can be far reaching."

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