USDA numbers are projecting an increased wheat yield along with increased acres that will be harvested for the winter wheat crop. With the recent problems that many farmers are facing since the May 1 outlook, you have to wonder whether these projections will hold true.

Freeze injury is beginning to show up across the state of Kansas now that temperatures soared to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit this week with winds exceeding 30 mph. The winds put the plants under stress, and the damage from the freezing temperature of April 30 to May 2 caused those damaged wheat heads to turn white. The Crop Quest agronomists are reporting damage anywhere from 1% to 40%, depending on field location, growth stage and the severity of the freezing temperatures. For most fields, the white heads will be less than 10 percent.

Stripe rust has really exploded over southern and western Kansas during the past two weeks. Those fields that are susceptible to stripe rust and were not treated with a fungicide have lost most of their green leaf tissue and will suffer some yield losses. It could be severe on the most susceptible fields. Leaf rust is also beginning to increase, and this will only compound the problem of shutting down the plants' chlorophyll-producing system needed for making grain yield.

One of the most serious problems across the High Plains is coming from the lack of rain in widespread areas of Kansas. Large areas in wheat fields were stressing and beginning to turn brown this week, where precipitation has been lacking for the past four to six weeks. A rain will be needed in the very near future in order for these fields to avert serious yield losses.

Source: Ron O'Hanlon, CPCC-I, CropTalk