Warm forecast causes crop worries in western Kansas


HEALY, Kan. (KSNW) –  A week ago, Vance Ehmke’s field was covered in a blanket of snow, and it caused his wheat to flatten. Today is a different story.

“If you look at it, it looks like a beautiful field of wheat that could make 60-80 bushels an acre,” Ehmke said.

He explained that a plant growth hormone helped the wheat stand up.

Ehmke’s wheat is standing knee-high again, but don’t let that fool you. He said you have to take a closer look at the wheat to see the damage.

Ehmke pulled a plant out of the ground and pointed to the bottom of the wheat stem, where there are kinks and splits.

He said this isn’t great news.

“We’re just now going into our peak water needs,” Ehmke said.

With warm weather in the forecast, that’s not what farmers want. Ehmke said he’s concerned his wheat might die.

“It’s just kind of like trying to breathe with a piano wire around your neck,” he said. “You’re just not going to be able to get enough moisture and nutrients.”

According to Ehmke, farmers with damaged wheat are hoping for cool, wet weather. If that doesn’t happen, farmers could be looking at a yield loss close to 90 percent.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” he said.

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