Haying

Haying

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rain, Rain, Come Again Another Day!

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.

SAID NO KANSAS FARMER EVER AT THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Farmers much prefer:

Rain, rain, come and stay
And keep coming for another day!

It may not have the same "ring" to it, but it's accurate. 

The rain on Saturday was not the perfect atmosphere for K-State's spring football game. But it sure made two little girls happy.
The tags got removed from Kinley's new butterfly rain boots. Umbrellas were unfurled.
And Brooke was so excited to wear her new raincoat from Grandma Christy and walk through the puddles with her rain boots.

The rain made Grandpas and Grandmas happy, too ... especially those who needed some rain to give the 2018 wheat crop a fighting chance.

Last week's drought monitor put even more of the state in either extreme or exceptional drought. Two tiny corners of the state were the only areas not classified as dry. While the 0.90" of rain we received here on the Stafford/Reno County line won't put much of a dent in the extreme drought, we are thankful for what we did receive.

Before moving some pairs of cattle to pasture Monday afternoon, Randy and I stopped for a look at a wheat field.
There was some concern that freezing temperatures during the first two weekends of April could have caused damage. The first week of April not only brought the season’s first snowfall to much of Kansas, but some of the coldest weather of the year as well, with nighttime lows falling into the teens and daytime highs barely above freezing.

However, that cover of snow on April 7 helped blanket the wheat. But on April 14, there was no snow cover. 



A chart from K-State had shown there was high risk in our area for freeze damage to wheat after our sub-freezing temperatures that second weekend.
The top of the wheat plant shows some freeze damage, seen here in the brown and yellow on the leaves.
However, the Kansas wheat crop is well behind the five-year average for maturation at this time. So, the growing point wasn't too far out of the ground. Having only a small fraction of the crop as far along as jointing meant less chance of massive freeze damage as a result of those adverse events.

In the photo above, Randy uses a knife to point to the growing point - or joint.
He then used the knife to slice open the stalk at the growing point. Good news: It revealed a green head! If there had been freeze damage, it would have been more white. It looks like we dodged a bullet.

This year's Kansas winter wheat crop definitely didn't need another challenge. Kansas has had  one of the driest winters on record: Much of the state - including our farm - got virtually no moisture from early October to mid-March. So the adverse conditions had already taken a toll on harvest prospects.

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service found only 13 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition (just 1 percent excellent) in the first week of April's Crop Progress report. A whopping 74 percent of the crop is considered fair to poor, with 13 percent very poor.

Wheat is said to have "nine lives." This will be another year when that theory is again tested. My resident optimist still says that Kansas could still have an average or close-to-average crop in many areas. We just need more timely rains and moderate temperatures during the next several weeks.

There's some rain in the forecast again today, so I'll try my modified rhyme:

Rain, rain, come and stay
And keep coming for another day!

4 comments:

  1. You have two very cute puddle-jumpers, Kim! Like you, I'm very glad they had those puddles to play in and hopeful that the rain arrived in time to revive the wheat.

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  2. Wonderful that the rain has found you and so lovely to see your girls enjoying the puddles.Hope there has been follow up falls. I see that Lynda Snowdon is also watching for dark clouds. Fingers crossed for both of you.

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    1. Thanks, Helen. The 0.90" and 0.50" of rain have definitely made things a little better, though we are a long way from breaking the drought.

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