Thursday, December 30, 2021

The March Toward Harvest: December Update

Taken from my dining room window, December 15, 2021. You couldn't see our north driveway.

 This is not a December photo of the wheat field. But it does illustrate some of what happened to our wheat crop this month.

From my front door, December 15, 2021. You couldn't even see the road.

On December 15, we had a terrible windstorm. It turned the landscape into a reenactment of the Dust Bowl Days here on the Central Plains.

This was the dirt that swirled in through my front door. It was everywhere.

Though it was a mess and likely did some damage to the some of the wheat crop, we feel fortunate. Some farmers and ranchers in northwest and north central Kansas had a wind-whipped wildfire. Two people lost their lives. It's estimated that 1,000 head of livestock were lost in the fire. And dozens of homes and outbuildings were lost, along with miles and miles of fencing. 

Wind records were smashed for the month of December since 1996 for central and south-central Kansas, according to the National Weather Service. This includes Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, and Russell. Russell saw winds peak to 100 mph, shattering their old record of 67 mph.

We live in a house surrounded by old trees. As the wind was roaring, I was concerned that a tree or a big branch would topple onto the house. Thankfully, the trees stayed together. 

December 21, 2021

 Our wheat that was better established seems OK.

However, we had some later planted wheat (that was also replanted in late October) that blew badly during the windstorm. 

December 21, 2021

It was planted in corn stubble, so there was some residue left in the field, though it's a little hard to tell at the moment.

The drought conditions across the state continue to slowly expand as the long stretch of dry weather continues. 

Most areas of western Kansas are in experiences drought conditions, and this area is expected to continue to slowly expand eastward as long and the dry weather continues.Right now, we are in the "abnormally dry" designation. The dry weather will also increase the inherent fire risk until significant moisture arrives in the region.

There is a little glimmer of hope on the horizon. We may get measurable snow on New Year's Day. Time will tell. We haven't had measurable moisture since October when we were trying to plant wheat.

Here's a look back at my monthly wheat updates so far:



Here's hoping I'll have moisture to report in January!


  1. December in the US with windstorms, bushfires and tornadoes hasn't been good. I hope the drought soon breaks but in a kind way. Not with devastation.

    1. Thanks, Helen. We have been gone for a week, and while we were gone, there was a little snow that fell. But we could definitely use more moisture.