Rain comes at the perfect time for many western Kansas wheat farmers

Local

FORD COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Summer one day, winter the next, the weather across the state has seen drastic changes over the past few days. 

In western Kansas, the rain the area has gotten, came at the right time for wheat farmers.

Anywhere from a quarter-inch up to half an inch of rain is what this area has seen in the past 24 hours. For wheat farmers, that means it’s time to get the drills in the field and the seed in the ground.

“This rain replenishes the top level of the soil profile. It makes planting a little easier. The goal is to be in that inch to two-inch depth to have adequate moisture but shallow enough to ensure proper emergence,” said southwest Kansas farmer, Jeff Breuer. 

Parts of western Kansas have been starved for rain, but the latest round of weather is bringing some relief and will help promote proper soil moisture to germinate the wheat seed.

“We’ve been through a dry period for the last three or four weeks after we received significant rainfall in July, early August. So this rain is very timely in the fact that it’s going to refill the surface moisture and it should meet up with the plentiful subsoil moisture that we have in these dryland wheatfields,” said ServiTech Technical Support Agronomist, Bryan Boroughs.

Without it, experts say seed is less likely to sprout and establish a strong stand, ultimately causing issues for the next wheat harvest.

“One of the advantages of having the rain now is it allows the farmers to drill their wheat into firm moisture which should promote rapid emergence and good secondary root development,” said Boroughs.

Breuer says it’s been a waiting game hoping for rain, but now, he’s gearing up to get in the field.

“A rain event, the first week of September, pretty much lets you know that you’re going to be planting in a week,” said Breuer, “As soon as we can go, we’ll probably start on some of our sandier soils.”

The rain is expected to continue throughout the next few days in much of western Kansas, and once this front clears out, expect to see several farmers transporting large equipment to their fields. 

“We were too dry to drill wheat for the most part. So hopefully this will be a nice break in the action so the farmers can get ready for their next step. Harvest or drill wheat, that’s gonna be the question though,” said Boroughs.

As for farmers, the rain continues to be a lifeblood for their operations.

“It just gives you a lot of comfort knowing that you can get a good start on your wheat crop,” said Breuer.

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