Salina Rain is falling across parts of Kansas, bringing some much-needed relief to crops parched by drought. But farmers say they're concerned that even two days of rain won't be enough to boost wheat and corn crops.
Showers and storms were forecast for much of north-central Kansas Thursday after heavy rains a day earlier. Salina received about three-fourths of an inch, and other parts of central and north-central Kansas got a half-inch or more.
But farmers say that while the rain is nice, only prolonged precipitation will ease drought conditions and help out young wheat and corn crops, which have been jeopardized by the largely rain-free spring across the state.
Eastern Saline County farmer Justin Knopf told The Salina Journal that the rainfall bought some time, but wheat in his area was teetering on disaster until a thunderstorm came through early Wednesday. Just as the fragile green kernels were needing moisture to develop, his fields in the Gypsum and Kipp areas received 0.5 of an inch of rain.
"(The rain) will certainly help with filling it, but we've been in a deficit for so long, it's going to take more to finish," Knopf said.
He was hopeful that the Wednesday night forecast of 70 percent for more rain would hold true, not only for his wheat but for young springs crops, such as corn.
"At planting time, we had excellent moisture, but this is the first significant rain event we've had," Knopf said.
Other parts of the state, however, remained dusty and dry. Dispatchers in Hill City, Mankato, McPherson, Belleville and Phillipsburg reported misty conditions and little to no measurable precipitation.
And even those regions that did see rainfall only got enough to "settle the dust," said Carl Garten, director of the Kansas State Research and Extension Service district covering Saline and Ottawa counties.
"That might be enough to hold it on for another week. We are dry, and we've lost yield already," he said.