Although many agree that rain is still needed across most of the state, seed dealers in various parts of Kansas are working to assure the availability of quality wheat seed. Despite some reports of freeze damage and drought stress problems, growers are confident that quality and availability will be high in the regional seed market.
Ed Oborny of Ed Junior Farm Inc. in Bison report that his area has been "blessed" with recent rains.
"It was almost too late, but with the rain, the wheat is looking really good. We seem to be in a garden spot" in central Rush County, Ed says. Although some of his neighbors in western Kansas face the possibility of shortages, Oborny anticipates an early harvest with a great-looking crop.
In Hutchinson, John Evans of Evans Seed believes it's "really too early to tell" how the wheat will turn out. "It's drought-stressed," he says, "but we're going to have some good seed. We've got some on irrigated, and we got some rain recently that should help with the dryland."
Farther north, in Palmer, the prognosis is about the same. "My one qualm is that it needs rain," says Shane Ohlde of Ohlde Seed Farms. "The wheat looks really good, and we're hoping for a decent supply. We've got enough to make a good supply," he says. Ohlde believes that with a little more rain, the yields could be as high as 50 to 60 bushels per acre.
In areas where the weather has been especially dry, dealers are prepared to do whatever is necessary to make good seed available to their customers. Although it's possible that dryland yields may be reduced for lack of moisture, there will still be a good supply from irrigated land and, if needed, seed imported from other areas.
Steve Ahring of DeLange Seed House says that although his seed business will have a "pretty good supply" from irrigated fields, they are prepared to make plenty of seed available in any case.
"It doesn't matter if it's from other areas of the state or other areas of the country, we will bring product in if we need to," Ahring says. Customers will be taken care of, rain or no rain, he says. "But we think it's going to be pretty good. The cool weather brought an extended wheat fill time, and that helps."
According to Daryl Strouts, executive director of the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, farmers should not be concerned about dry weather causing a shortage of seed. "There's always a shortage somewhere and an abundance somewhere else every year," he says. "Kansas certified seed growers have a long history of meeting farmers' seed needs. The key is for the farmers to order seed early so there is time to get it where it's needed."