Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Praying for Rain


See that blob of red in the middle of the state of Kansas? We farm really close to that red blob. That's an area of extreme drought.

All the color on the map - from yellow to burgundy - means that much of the state desperately needs rain. We certainly do.

So in this pictorial 21st-of-the-month wheat crop update, moisture - or the lack thereof - is the overriding concern.

The wheat isn't very tall. Dry conditions contribute to that.

In a Facebook memory that came up on my news feed last week, I saw that in 2017, the wheat had already headed. (Click HERE for that post.) We aren't that far yet as we work our way toward our summer 2022 harvest.

 But the wheat has jointed. The bearded head of the wheat is in the wheat stalk and will emerge soon.

This chart on wheat development is from Oklahoma State University.

While moisture is the current limiting factor for this year’s harvest, the outlook is more nuanced than measuring the dust or raindrops in the gauge. According to Kansas Crop Progress and Condition report on April 17, issued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the winter wheat crop's topsoil moisture supplies rated 33 percent very short, 30 percent short, 36 percent adequate and 1 percent slurpus. Subsoil rated 32 percent very short, 34 percent short, 34 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. 

The field crop report rated the winter wheat crop as 11 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 30 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Winter wheat jointed was 34 percent, behind 47 percent last year and 44 percent for the five-year average. 

A few areas got a little rain overnight on April 22 into April 23. We got less than 0.10 of an inch. 

Here's what it looked like during my first photo session on the 21st of a month - this one from back in October. For that whole blog post, click HERE.

October 2021

There is a chance for rain later this week. Let's hope this round doesn't miss us!


  1. I sympathize. Our entire county (Crook Co. Oregon) is D4. Snow pack isn't much in the mountains (so far) and a lot around here depends on that. This is mostly cattle country but they grow alfalfa hay here, and some wheat. We aren't farmers but were hoping to plant a large garden, but our neighborhood is already on water restrictions so I wonder if there is any point to gardening!

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment. We have some chances this week, so we are hoping and praying they come to fruition. Most of those chances also come with the chance of severe weather, but beggars can't be choosers, as the saying goes. I hope that you and your region get life-giving rain, too!

  2. I wish I could send our excesses to you. Perhaps a sign of hope for you:- desperate regions in western Queensland, who had missed out on the earlier falls, are now rejoicing.

    1. I just saw this, Helen. Sorry to be late. An update: In the first week of May, we got a total of 1.55 inches of rain. While that won't "bust" the drought, it is a very helpful rain.