Drought causes 40 percent of Kansas wheat to be rated in ‘poor’ condition; snow didn’t help

Saturday, March 26, 2011
By Paul Martin

March 25, 2011

LAKIN, Kan. — Recent snowstorms that blanketed parts of Kansas aren’t expected to help wheat farmers struggling with a lingering drought.

Except for a patch running north and south through central Kansas, much of the state is abnormally dry or in an extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. No improvement is expected through June, and the dry spell is expected to get worse in western Kansas.

The conditions have hurt the wheat crop, with nearly 40 percent rated in poor condition, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. Only 25 percent of the crop is rated good, and 2 percent is in excellent condition.

Even if the rains come, it’s likely most farmers in western Kansas won’t have great crops, said Matt Overturf, grain manager for Skyland Grain, based in the Stanton County town of Johnson. Recent 85-degree days and strong winds haven’t helped, he told The Hutchinson News on Thursday.

“It’s just adding agony to misery,” he said. “We haven’t written it off yet, but we have to get some help pretty quick.”

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