Kansas State University agronomist Doug Shoup and Cowley County Extension Agent Jill Zimmerman will be meeting with south central Kansas wheat growers on Monday to discuss the current critical state of the 2015 hard red winter wheat crop.
The latest challenge to the winter wheat crop was a freeze on April 4, one of many cold weather events throughout the season that has hurt the crop. Wild temperature swings during January and February saw drops of 45 and 50 degrees in a time span of only hours.
In addition to freeze damage, this year's Kansas wheat crop has been hard hit by drought through the winter. Dry weather conditions are affecting not just the crop in south central Kansas, but across the state, including making the temperature drops even more damaging because dry soils freeze deeper than soils with more moisture. Winter wheat is cold tolerant but can be damaged if freeze penetrates deep into the root zone.
A look at precipitation records over a wide area shows that Wichita has recorded only 3.87 inches of precipitation since Nov. 1 of 2014. Salina has had only 3.75 inches, while Dodge City recorded 2.75 inches, Medicine Lodge 3.73 inches and Garden City a scant 1.15 inches.
Wheat producers who would like an opinion on problems they are seeing in wheat can bring samples for Shoup to examine. He will also offer the latest information on the crop status statewide and options for producers facing problems.
Crop scouts are already warning that the next big issue for winter wheat growers may be stripe rust, which is shaping up to be a threat across the High Plains. Watch this space for more on that issue in the coming days.
The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Pleasant Valley Township Meeting Hall in Hackney (Winfield).