Hope For Wheat Crop Soars as Rains Actually Fall

Amounts so far have been small, but mere fact of storms passing over is encouraging for Kansas wheat farmers.

Published on: Feb 19, 2013

After months of watching storm systems move to the north, or to the south, of the Wichita area with little or no rain falling here, spirits have been lifted immeasurably by systems that tracked right over Wichita, even if they did drop precious little moisture.

What the storm track shift portends is more and more systems that cross southern Kansas, a weather pattern that has been blocked for months.

It is not unusual for Kansas to have dry winters as meteorologists at three different conferences have pointed out in the last two or three weeks. The point of real concern comes if the normally rainy months of the year don't produce moisture.

Rain or snow typically comes to Kansas from February through June and less abundantly from June through September.

Rain or snow typically comes to Kansas from February through June and less abundantly from June through September.
Rain or snow typically comes to Kansas from February through June and less abundantly from June through September.

A wetter than normal winter and spring in 2012 allowed the Kansas winter wheat crop to get established and off to a good start before the end of moisture at the first of May stressed grain development. Looking back on last year, many farmers have been discouraged at the lack of even a little bit of moisture to help the wheat get roots and tillers established.

A very cold snap right after Christmas sent the crop dormant, which was good news to farmers worried about the growing crop using up soil profile moisture and the threat of the crop never going dormant in an abnormally warm winter.

Winter wheat requires cold-weather dormancy to eventually produce grain.

In western Kansas, the concern has been moisture. With some areas only getting 4 to 9 inches of rainfall in the last year, there is just no moisture for the wheat crop to germinate.