Wheat crop promising…at least for the time being

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This is a little tough for the local farm experts to say without a smile.

But, it?s too early to say how the Marion County 2011 wheat crop is doing, they will tell you.

Yes, it?s too early. Who knows if moisture will stay adequate or what wheat diseases may rear up.

Things could go wrong with the wheat?drought, disease and so on.

After all, said Rickey Roberts, Marion County agricultural extension agent, west of Great Bend, wheat was planted in the dust across the drought-stricken countryside to the western Kansas border.

But, ?right here we?re looking at a pretty good wheat crop. It just has a long way to go,? Roberts said. ?We had enough moisture to get it up good. There?s a good stand now. It?s greening up well. We?ll just have to see how the spring goes.?

Jeff Mayfield, agronomist with Ag Service at Hillsboro, said: ?There?s definitely plenty of moisture. The wheat is greening up good. We?re finding we?re only able to top-dress (with nitrogen fertilizer) when the ground is frozen.?

The first joint stage of growth for the wheat is only three to four weeks away as the spring weather warms, Mayfield said, and the top dressing needs to have been completed by then.

?It?s on target for growth, but a few warm snaps could really get it going.?

Mayfield said farmers were concerned with a few areas of wheat that looked questionable, but the tough crop has made it up.

There is greater demand for top dressing wheat this year, Mayfield said, because wheat acreage in the county is up as part of normal rotation practices. Last year, farmers planted a lot of ground to soybeans, and much of that is going into wheat, he said?that, plus adequate wheat prices at more than $7 a bushel.

?It?s a little early to say how the wheat will be,? Mayfield said. ?We have good moisture, and as we move into warmer weather, it?s looking good. It?s rooted down good. It had adequate moisture right from planting.?

Mayfield then said that ultimately encouraging statement that anybody in agriculture hesitates to say: ?It?s in as good shape this early as I?ve seen it look for a long time?maybe years.?

Roberts said, yes, it?s a good stand of wheat here, ?but it?s still too early to really tell. There?s a long time to go. It?s a good stand now.

?It?s looking like a pretty good wheat crop. It?s greening back up. We had good moisture to bring it up, and we have good moisture now. But it?s still just too early to tell. Things could turn really tough in a hurry.

?Just look at it west of Great Bend. They have snow on the ground now, but who knows if it will still bring that wheat up??

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