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2013 Winter Wheat Crop: Month 3

December 24, 2012

The tiniest bit of moisture fell a few days ago, when light snow blew in courtesy of Storm Draco. A couple of inches would have been nice. However, it was encouraging to think that maybe winter will bring some drought relief.

Here’s what Kansas State University crop production specialist Jim Shroyer has to say about current conditions:

“A combination of very low temperatures, dry soils and poorly developed wheat has created concern about the current wheat crop’s survival.”

He gives a great overview of what can help or hinder its survival, including the root system, soil temperature near the crown of the plant, and whether the crown is protected enough by the soil:

http://brianallmerradionetwork.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/12-11-12-ksu-news-cold-weather-dry-soils-raise-questions-about-survival-of-wheat/

We’ve worried about yields before, but never about the crop surviving. V. had intended this field for winter grazing for our small cow/calf herd, but its condition is too poor. There is always some yield loss when calves graze early in the year on wheat, but he doesn’t want to add any more stress to this fragile crop. The best thing for the wheat now would be more snow to insulate and protect it from harsh winds.

Winter wheat, December 2012

Winter wheat, December 2012

Winter wheat field, December 2012

Winter wheat field, December 2012

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