October 22, 2014

Drought, spotty freezes are taking a toll on some wheat fields

WheatMembers of the Wheat Quality Council are on their annual tour of hard red winter wheat fields this week in Kansas and Nebraska.

Council executive director Ben Handcock says the fields in Kansas are in dire need of rain and they’re showing it.

“Probably the best wheat we’re going to see is up in Nebraska,” Handcock says. “The wheat down here is going to be struggling. Even in the areas where it’s usually pretty good, in the center of the state, it doesn’t look that good. It’s only 9 or 10 inches tall and starting to head out. It hasn’t rained for a month so, I think it’s going to be a little tough crop this year.”

The weather hasn’t cooperated lately as there have been some spotty freezes on top of the lack of moisture.

“We’ve had some freeze damage in a few places but they all say the drought is the real issue,” Handcock says. “There’s probably some freeze damage but the drought is the biggest problem. They just haven’t had enough rain to get the kind of a normal crop you would expect in most of those areas.”

Handcock says the three-day tour started Tuesday and is covering north-central and northwest Kansas and the lower-tier of counties in Nebraska.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton