Portrait in Ice

Portrait in Ice
January 2017

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Crystal Ball Is Cloudy

There are dozens of sunrises and sunsets between now and Wheat Harvest 2015. Time will tell what kind of crop we'll harvest this coming June.

Last week, before the latest round of winter weather came through the area, some meteorologists predicted that a third of the nation's wheat belt would be affected by winterkill caused by sub-zero temperatures and wind chills.

Most of the Kansas crop was thought to avoid the damage. Winterkill was anticipated in eastern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, northern and eastern Missouri, south central Illinois, southern Indiana and southern Ohio.

Adequate moisture this fall helped establish a good root system for our crop here in South Central Kansas.
We had snow cover on most of our wheat, which helps insulate it somewhat from the sub-zero temperatures.
The tip ends of the plant always show some damage from freeze burn, but as long as the main part of the plant has ample moisture below the surface, the wheat isn't damaged by the surface "burn."

The National Agriculture Statistics Service reports that 49 percent of Kansas wheat is now in good to excellent condition, with 42 percent fair and 9 percent in poor to very poor condition.

My personal crop adviser doesn't think our crop was hurt with the temperatures. He is, if you'll recall, one of the most optimistic people I know.

Two years ago, we had several episodes of freezing rain during April and figured the wheat crop was lost. Instead, Harvest 2013 was the best wheat we'd ever harvested. For our 2014 wheat crop, a dry fall, winter and spring negatively impacted our yields.

My crystal ball is a little cloudy right now. We'll see how things add up when the trucks cross the co-op scales next June.


  1. I'm thinking the wheat farmers around here are gonna start worrying about rust. The wheat looks good to me. Then again I have no idea what I'm looking at. The weather is suppose to warm up into the 40's with rain. The Pineapple Express they call it. It's weird having this warm of weather in January!

    1. We are supposed to have snow flurries today, but the weather map says it will be the 50s by the weekend. It's been quite awhile since we've had temperatures above freezing, so it will be a nice reprieve. However, I'm sure Old Man Winter will be back.

  2. Oh this weather is certainly different I know our alfalfa is probably gone there was not enough snow cover to protect it. Oh this farming stuff is something:) Take care. B

    1. I hope your alfalfa will be OK. Someone on Facebook yesterday commented that wheat has nine lives. I'll hope your alfalfa has at least another one!