Large hail wipes out much of the wheat crop south of Hays

Local

HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Much of the state was hit by severe weather throughout the day Wednesday. In Hays, people south of town are saying it hailed for nearly an hour straight, and for the wheat crop there, it’s devastating news. 

Despite advancements in crop genetics, much of a wheat crop’s production relies on favorable weather conditions and the lack of weather-related stress. However, farmers saw the exact opposite. People say the hail that fell on fields ranged from a quarter to baseball size. For wheat in this area, it’s in the critical grain filling stage, and the hail was detrimental to yields.

At the Kansas State Research and Extension Center, officials there say nearly 450 acres of their wheat got hailed out. “I’ve been here and working for K-State for 23 years, and this was the worst storm I’ve seen on the south end of Hays. The hail was just unrelenting,” said Spencer Casey, Business Manager for the Western Kansas Kansas State University Agricultural Research Centers.

Evaluators say field losses ranged from 50% to 100%, but the average loss was upwards of 85-percent. “There were situations where we had 20 heads standing out of 100, so 80% damage. And in the 20 that were standing, a lot of the heads actually had damage too,” Casey said. “One of our counts, three of those heads were actually good out of 100.”

Casey says the crop will look worse in five to 10 days and that some farmers may try to swath and bale the wheat that’s left and then plant a different crop. He also says it’s a case-by-case basis, especially since there is so much standing water, farmers will have to wait before they can get in the fields.

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