County wheat tour offers hopefor strong wheat harvest…so far

Marion County agricultural extension agent Rickey Roberts refuses to say that area producers can expect a bumper wheat crop this year.

He knows all too well what can happen to wheat at this stage of development.

But, following his wheat tour in Marion County last week with Doug Shoup, southeast Kansas crops specialist with Kansas State University, Roberts is willing to say, ?It?s still looking pretty good.

?I?m still optimistic,? he added. ?One reason I?m optimistic is there wasn?t much leaf disease compared to other years. The disease pressure on the wheat is relatively low. That helps a lot.

?If you drive around fields, you can find some water damage,? he added. ?But, I am pretty optimistic?but I wouldn?t like to try to guess yields just yet.?

Roberts said the wheat heads that were examined were full, with no sign of freeze damage that might leave them partly empty of kernels. He has heard reports of farmers who say some wheat heads are shorter than normal.

The cooler weather this spring generally favors the wheat toward higher yields, Roberts said, although it has been turning warmer in recent days.

He also is more optimistic for the farm outlook in general because commodity grain prices have been going up for the past two weeks.

A good year seems to be shaping up ?if nothing (bad) happens from here,? Roberts said.

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