Wheat farmers await results of replanted wheat

Hang on to your best hopes for the next seven to 10 days as the spring warming brings on the first new wheat growth.

With $10 to $11 wheat at the marketplace, thanks to volatile world conditions and a wheat shortage, there?s reason for local farmers to hope.

There?s adequate moisture, no big weather disasters on the horizon as of yet.

But Rickey Roberts, Marion County Exten?sion agricultural agent, is still cautious.

?It?s just too early to tell yet,? he said.

Roberts is watching, as many local farmers are, for what will happen with replanted and late planted wheat.

?I can see it down the rows, but whether it will grow and tiller on out to make a crop is impossible to tell,? he said.

Roberts explained that heavy rains last fall either made it difficult to get into fields to plant, delaying it, or it crusted the surface soil so badly that it had to be torn up again for replanting.

Will that wheat grow as most of it was barely sprouted?

?I know I?m going to be patient about it just as I guess most guys will be,? Roberts said. ?At these wheat prices, nobody wants to just tear it up.?

Last week Roberts had an encouraging update from plant pathologists on wheat disease. As of this time, they aren?t detecting any rust in the wheat in Texas. Roberts said usually the yield-reducing rust in the Kansas wheat crop is carried into the state by the south wind from the earlier growing wheat in Texas.

?Now this looks very positive for us,? he said. ?But it doesn?t mean that rust still can?t develop. We aren?t out of the woods yet.?

If weather conditions remain largely on the beneficial side, Roberts said the potential looks good for crop yields. Soil temperatures are beginning to warm for corn planting, and people are getting ready for it.

?The future for beans and other crops is looking good,? Roberts said.

He added that there already is abundant moisture in the soil, and the historically best rain month of the year, May, preceded by another good rain month, April, are still to come.

It could all bode well, but Roberts had to throw in a double caution, ?It?s just too early to tell.?

The February ratings for the Kansas Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture rated statewide topsoil moisture at 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

The wheat condition was rated 6 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Winterkill to the wheat crop was rated at 83 percent no damage, 15 percent light winterkill, and 2 percent moderate winterkill.

Bryce Anderson, DTN marketing matters meteorologist and analystP at Omaha, Neb., said that both the Kansas and Oklahoma wheat ratings are slightly below average. But, he said, they haven?t had the declines they usually have through January.

Anderson said Texas has its third-lowest rating for wheat in the past 10 years, mostly because large areas of the state west of Interstate 35 are still experiencing drought.

He said Nebraska?s wheat condition continues to be above average while Illinois has its third-highest wheat rating in the past 10 years.

Roberts said the markets and worldwide wheat growing conditions are offering good lessons on interrelated effects and perspectives for Marion County producers this year.

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