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Wheat Breaks Dormancy as Winterkill Fears Grow

Associated Press - March 24, 2014 7:57 pm

Widespread rainfall over several days in the past week has slowed the Kansas winter wheat harvest, and hail has damaged the crops in the northwest part of the state.

Widespread rainfall over several days in the past week has slowed the Kansas winter wheat harvest, and hail has damaged the crops in the northwest part of the state.

Scant rain across most of Kansas has led to declining soil moisture levels as the condition of the winter wheat crop continues to decline.

In its weekly update, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that less than half of Kansas is reporting adequate soil moisture supplies.

The agency rated the condition of the emerging winter wheat as 21 percent poor to very poor. About 46 percent is in fair shape with 31 percent rated good and 2 percent excellent condition. Below-normal temperatures have slowed wheat development.

Justin Gilpin is the CEO of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. Gilpin says growers throughout the central corridor have been reporting freeze damage.

The winterkill stems from subzero cold in January when there was little snow to provide a protective cover.

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