Wheat crop gets a boost from the rain, unplanted corn could face yield losses


KINGSDOWN, Kan. (KSNW) – As flooding continues across the state, the wet weather is also impacting agriculture. While many wheat farmers welcome the rain, corn farmers may say otherwise.

May rainfall accumulations in southwest Kansas.

The month of May has brought above-average rainfall for many areas of southwest Kansas, and summer crops are soaking up the much-needed moisture.

“It’s probably saved our wheat crop. We were getting pretty bad there for a while. It was going backward,” said crop consultant, Jeremy Evans.

Many wheat acres are transitioning to the grain filling stage. During this time, the plant has a higher demand for water. The recent rains could mean an increase in yields.

“Filling more grains to the mesh is a big thing, o maybe we can get to that third good berry in a mesh, maybe even four in some cases,” Evans said. “So it’s a really critical time for wheat.”

Rainfall map detailing the last seven days of rain accumulation.

But for fall crops not in the ground yet, planting will likely be further delayed. For the corn crop, the setback may limit the growing season and ultimately hurt yields.

“It’s getting to be mid-May now. Corn ideally we like to have it all planted by mid-May otherwise the yields start dipping a little bit by history,” he said.

He says the corn crop needs sun and hot weather to boost its growth. As for alfalfa farmers, the rain will top off the crop for first cutting but will likely push back that harvest.

Many say it’s a waiting game as to when the fields will dry out. “If we catch, I think they’re talking maybe an inch tonight, it’s going to be wet and guys aren’t going to be able to get in the fields for 10-14 days,” he said.

But in an area of the state facing an ongoing drought, Evans says many farmers will take rain whenever they can get it.

“It’s been hit and miss. Some areas have caught more than others, but it seems like, I think, everybody has caught some rain. Like I said, some guys would like to have more,” he said.

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