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Archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Remaining wheat acres struggling as heat looms

May 15, 2001

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— Remaining stands of hard red winter wheat in Kansas revived slightly after last week's rains, but more summer-like temperatures forecast for this week threaten to set back what few gains the struggling crop has made.

Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that as much as 39 percent of remaining acres were in poor or very poor condition just a bit of an improvement from the 41 percent in that shape a week ago.

For the rest of the crop, about 36 percent ranked in fair condition and 25 percent in good to excellent condition, the agency said.

About 52 percent of the wheat in the state has headed.

Among those farmers anxiously watching the weather is Don Hineman, a wheat grower and cattle producer from Dighton.

He put far fewer acres into winter wheat last fall because of the poor planting conditions, and he already has destroyed two-thirds of the wheat he did plant because of poor stands.

"The third that is left, I don't expect very much out of it," he said. "Maybe 20 to 30 bushels (per acre) is about all I can expect and we are going to have to have favorable weather from now until July to have that."

The crop he destroyed was so bad there was not even enough forage to graze his cattle on it. His fields were pretty typical this year for Lane County and surrounding counties in west-central Kansas, he said.

The rain his crops received last week helped revive the remaining wheat crop, but unseasonably hot weather in recent days have him and other growers worried.

Meanwhile, KASS reported:

Corn planting was 89 percent complete, with about 87 percent up by now. Corn condition was rated as 30 percent fair, 62 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

Soybean planting was 33 percent complete, and 15 percent has emerged.

Milo planting was 23 percent finished, and emergence was estimated at 11 percent.

Sunflower planting was 12 percent complete.

First-cutting alfalfa is estimated to be 23 percent complete. Alfalfa weevil has been reported in some areas. The height of fescue in the southeast district is reported to be shorter than normal.

Pasture conditions were rated as 19 percent poor or very poor. Another 37 percent were ranked as fair, 40 percent good and 4 percent excellent.

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