Kansas wheat tour finding disappointing crops

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email
The lack of moisture this year is starting to take a toll on the state

Wheat

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WICHITA, Kan. As the wheat tour enters it's final day, results so far don't look promising. While traveling the state, groups stop every 15 to 20 miles to check fields. Dalton Henry, with the Kansas Wheat Association, says crops appear to be about 25 percent below yields from a year ago.

"Without much for moisture this spring, this crop has really struggled to keep up with normal progress the way it should be," Henry said.

While the winds have left behind damage, experts say the biggest issue is the lack of rain. They say right now is the most critical period for the crop to get moisture and cool temperatures.

"It's going to be a tough year for us," said Lane County wheat farmer Tanner Ehmke. "Another tough year, another ongoing drought."

The effects of the drought are showing up in the crop. In one field, crops were measuring in at ten inches in height, when they should be two feet tall by now.

"Our crop is very short, and it's not going to be producing much grain," Ehmke said. "The plant is just trying to preserve the moisture it has right now, and instead of producing grain, it's going to use that moisture to cool down."

In each field, the experts measure row width, plant height, stems per foot, and use a probe to check moisture. For the first time, they are utilizing an app to plug in those measurements and get an estimated yield.

For some, the damage may be so extensive they will either take crop insurance, or use the field for grazing cattle. The results of the wheat tour will be announced later this afternoon in Kansas City.


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