Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Nearly 100 people from all sectors of the global wheat industry are making their way across Kansas to check the condition of this year's crop.
Participants in the Wheat Quality Tour are finding that crop conditions vary greatly across the state and those conditions are dictated by moisture.
Farmers in south-central Kansas say, thanks to some timely rain and snow, wheat in their part o the state appears to be doing well and may even have escaped major damage from recent freezes. However, that is not the case statewide.
Wheat in northwest Kansas fields encountered by tour participants has barely emerged.
"A lot of the wheat that was planted last fall didn't come up until the snow we had in March," said Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension Agronomist. "So, there's a lot of erratic stands and it just doesn't obviously look like it's supposed to this time of year."
Conditions deteriorated as the tour moved from east to west across northern Kansas on its first day.
Participants estimated a field in Washington County could yield 52 bushels per acre this harvest, if conditions remain right. Shroyer said once the tour got to the Phillipsburg area and entered the area still classified as in an extreme drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor, conditions grew rapidly worse.
However, Shroyer said some of the nearly barren fields in northwest Kansas still have a yield potential near 20 bushels per acre.
"If it stays cool and we have a little bit of moisture, we could cut some wheat out this way," he said. "That's the thing: Wheat in northwest Kansas can really fool you."