Jeff Garretson - February 25, 2016 1:03 pm
Morning dew on a wheat field in northern McPherson County. Photo by Olivia Garretson
A mild winter has the wheat crop in central Kansas breaking dormancy and greening up.
“For the most part where you see that crop coming out of dormancy across the state it’s in pretty good condition,” said Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission in Manhattan.
“It is a little bit earlier than normal and so with that comes some concerns.”
Gilpin joined in on the KSAL Morning News Thursday with an overview of Kansas’ number one crop.
“The first thing you think about is the risk of a freeze or a late freeze, but that’s more of an April or May time frame.”
“So right now when you see a little bit of freeze damage it’s more cosmetic to that crop,” he said.
Gilpin told listeners that moisture levels are always a concern but so far the snow in the western half of the state and timely rain events in central Kansas have been adequate.
“Right now the crop is rated at around 56-percent good to excellent,” he said. “That’s about ten points better than it was last year.”
In 2015 producers faced a fungus known as stripe rust, something Gilpin says is on everyone’s radar this year, “It started in Texas and Oklahoma and that’s definitely one of the things that producers in Kansas are on the lookout for this year,” he said.
“Extension agents will be talking with local producers about what to do for their crop.”
According to the National Agricultural Statistic Service, the 2015 Kansas wheat crop was valued at $1.56 billion, a 4 percent bump over 2014.
Looking ahead the government agency says the average wheat price in 2016 is projected at $4.85 per bushel.