Hard Winter Wheat Tour Kicks Off

Drought has damaged Kansas wheat crop worse than the late freeze.

Published on: Apr 30, 2013

The 2013 Wheat Quality Tour kicked off this morning. Around 80 people from various organizations are traveling in 20 groups across Kansas to evaluate this year's hard winter wheat.

Farm Progress regional field editor Tyler Harris started out the tour visiting fields in west-central Kansas, where Kansas State University professor and agronomy specialist Jim Shroyer expects the most damage to be apparent from the late freeze of April 9 and 10.

However, most of the damaged wheat on the tour will have been damaged due to drought, with the exception of the freeze damage reported in a few counties, Shroyer says.

Tour so far

Today Harris's group traveled through Dickinson, Marion, McPherson, Rice, Barton, Rush, Ness and Trego counties before traveling west on I-70 to finish the day in Colby.

Some wheat fields like this one near Great Bend, Kansas,  show signs of damage from the recent freeze of April 9 and 10. This is apparent in the yellowing of the leaf in the center of this photo.
Some wheat fields like this one near Great Bend, Kansas, show signs of damage from the recent freeze of April 9 and 10. This is apparent in the yellowing of the leaf in the center of this photo.

So far, not much freeze damage has been seen. However, some fields near Great Bend showed recent freeze damage, up to about 33% in one case, although this doesn't directly correlate to the amount lost. Further west, more wheat fields showed signs of earlier freeze damage, although it wasn't enough to hurt the flag leaf.

Some fields in west central Kansas are about two weeks behind, and still in the pre flag stage. This differs largely from last year, when everything was ahead of schedule by the time of the tour.

Some fields in McPherson and Marion counties have been more promising, with yields in the mid to upper fifties.

Tomorrow, groups will spread out from Colby, traveling through southern Kansas and one in the Oklahoma panhandle.