Wheat Farmers Consider Replanting

Freeze damage has producers watching their wheat over the next few weeks to decide whether or not to replant.

Published on: Apr 23, 2007

A cold snap over Easter weekend caused freeze has left many producers considering whether or not to give up on their wheat and replant with another crop.

Signs of freeze damage are becoming more visible, but agronomists report that most producers will wait several weeks before deciding whether or not to replant. The freeze damaged hard red winter wheat across the Plains and soft red winter wheat farther east.

In a Dow Jones report, Kansas State University agronomist Allan Fritz says "a fair amount" of Kansas wheat will be abandoned by farmers because of the freeze. Fritz says the wheat fields will be replanted with corn, sorghum or soybeans.

The cold weather came in a year for hard red wheat in Kansas that would have otherwise probably produced "a record crop or certainly a near-record crop," Fritz says. Farmers planted 10.3 million acres of winter wheat in Kansas this year, up from 9.8 million last year.

Although Tennessee growers planted much more wheat this year than last - 400,00 compared to 280,000 - Bobby Hooper, an agronomist with Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, says the state is likely facing losses of 60% to 80%.

Some of Ohio's 870,000 acres of wheat could be abandoned in favor of corn, according to Ohio State University agronomist Ed Lentz. Meanwhile, Lentz says farmers are waiting for warm weather to see how the crop will do.

"This is a plane that's been out there on that tarmac for two days, and bathroom is looking pretty messy," he says. "People are wondering if it's time to get off, but the plane still may take off."