Promising Wheat Crop Takes Pounding

Promising Wheat Crop Takes Pounding

With harvest only half done, south-central Kansas hit by hail; many fields wiped out, damage to corn, soybeans uncertain.

Wheat harvest was looking better than average in south-central Kansas.

That past tense is correct.

On Thursday a wide swath of hail and high winds wiped out the approximately 50% of wheat still left to cut and did serious damage to the young soybean and corn crops in the field.

"It hailed for 55 minutes straight at my place," says Sedgwick County Farm Bureau President Mick Rausch. "We were in the maintenance shed and it was banging so hard that we put our ear plugs in just to handle the noise."

Rausch said he was a little over half done when harvest when rain on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning slowed him down. He had just headed back to the field when the storms came up Thursday night. Rausch farms near Garden Plain in western Sedgwick County.

"My corn is small and it doesn't look too bad," he said. "I have an advantage in that I plant to chop it for forage for the dairy cows so if grain yield is hurt, it won't be a big deal to me. But the wheat, well that's not pretty."

The good news for farmers hit by hail is that the crop that was harvested in advance of the storm was coming in better than most had dared hope for and prices are still quite robust. The Kansas City Board of Trade price for the July 11 contract was $8.67 Friday morning.

The swath of hail, high winds and heavy rain hit parts of Reno, Harvey, Kingman and Butler counties and was widespread across Sedgwick County.

Rainfall totaled almost three inches in a two-hour period, causing widespread street flooding in towns and cities, including Wichita and sent rural creeks over their banks, onto county roads and into farm fields.

Hail ranged in size from marbles to bigger than golfball size as multiple storms moved across the region.

The National Weather Service is warning that storms could re-develop late this afternoon, with the greatest danger of hail, high winds, heavy rain and possible tornadoes in the eastern part of the state.

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