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First Drought, Now Heat Impacting Kansas Wheat Fields
USAgNet - 04/21/2011

A combination of record heat, dry soils, and high winds in March and April has sapped the wheat in many areas of Kansas this year, especially where the wheat emerged late and is very small in the western areas, said Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist.

There is still time for wheat to recover to some extent if rains come in April, Shroyer said, depending on the stage of growth and how severely the wheat has been stressed.

"Maximum head size is already determined where the wheat has jointed, but kernel weight can still respond to good weather and can make up for some of the loss in yield potential," he explained. "Even if the main tillers have died, secondary tillers can still begin growing this spring if the crown is still alive and the crop receives some rain and cool weather."

It might be a good idea to start planning now for all possibilities, he said.

Producers who have their wheat crop insured cannot take any action until the insurance company loss adjuster releases it.

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