Planting of the 2012 wheat crop is all but finished in Kansas and by most accounts, the crop is off to a good start, according to members of the Kansas Wheat Commission and directors of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, who met in Salina for a joint board meeting Nov. 8.
Palco farmer Mike McClellan says wheat planted early has received adequate late fall moisture and appears to have recovered from exceedingly dry conditions at planting. Later planted wheat is starting to green up nicely, says McClellan, who serves on the KWC.
In west central and southwest Kansas, Commissioner Jason Ochs says rains have been timely, allowing later-planted wheat to look very good. However, fall rain showers have eluded KAWG Director Jay Cook, who farms in Finney and Lane counties. In Finney County, much of the planted wheat has yet to emerge. “In Lane County, the wheat has come up but we have spotty stands,” says Cook. “We’re kind of in a bad area.”
Many farmers had to replant wheat after a late September rain caused emergence problems, says Gary Millershaski, KAWG vice president from Lakin. Wheat in Kearny County looks fair to good; wheat acreage in the region is up about 10%, Millershaski adds. In neighboring Scott County, KWC Chairman Rich Randall says wheat north of Scott City is excellent. However, areas of Logan, Gove and Wichita counties received too much rain and got buried; much of that had to be replanted. Farmers planted more wheat this year than the last few years, Randall says.
Scott Van Allen, commissioner from Sumner County, says much of wheat in south central Kansas was planted into dust, but two days of slow, steady rain in late September put that wheat in excellent shape. “Wheat acres in this area are up significantly,” Van Allen says. “All the corn and soybeans that failed this summer have been planted to wheat. I’m optimistic about the crop in this area.”
Justin Knopf says drought-stricken fall crops in Saline County were destroyed and planted into wheat. However, until rain showers this week, the region had not yet received enough moisture to overcome the lack of subsoil moisture. “The wheat looks average,” says Knopf, a KAWG director who farms near Salina. “There is poor root development and until this rain, we’ve seen some signs of stress.”
Michael Jordan, KAWG’s secretary-treasurer from Beloit, says wheat acreage is stable in north central Kansas. Wheat planted in late September is in good condition, but that planted into row crops after fall harvest is just beginning to grow.
Jay Armstrong, Kansas Wheat Commission secretary-treasurer from Muscotah, says most of the wheat in Eastern Kansas was planted in mid-September and should be further along. Dryness has slowed its development.
In its Nov. 7 Crop Progress report, Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service says 87% of the crop has emerged and rates it as 45% good to excellent and 43% fair. Rain and snow showers fell throughout much of Kansas Nov. 7-8, providing much-needed moisture to the young wheat crop, which will soon be going into dormancy for the winter.