Some area farmers and others across the state are keeping a watchful eye on the skies today and Friday as they wait to plant their fall wheat crop.

Some area farmers and others across the state are keeping a watchful eye on the skies today and Friday as they wait to plant their fall wheat crop.

A dry October has a double impact on wheat planting across the state.

While some locations haven’t had enough moisture to plant and get the wheat up, other locations have had plenty of dry weather and have had plenty of time to get their wheat crop planted, said Mary Knapp, state climatologist.

In areas where moisture fell the wheat has come up nicely especially where the wheat was planted early.

“Farmers that received moisture were in a fortunate area,” Knapp said.

In other locations that received less or no moisture, farmers are waiting for some moisture to get their crop in the ground and get it up, Knapp said.

With a 30 percent chance of rain for today and a 40 percent chance of rain on Friday, it is the best opportunity for moisture the state has had for almost all of October.

“This is looking a whole lot more favorable,” Knapp said.

Most of the October rainfall totals across the state are below normal with most areas not reaching half the normal rainfall amounts for the month.

South central and southeast Kansas are in a little better shape than the rest of the state for moisture. The western part of the state has had little rain and that has been hit-and-miss.

Some of the wheat in dry areas has produced spotty stands and farmers need moisture to get the rest of the wheat to sprout.

For some farmers the dry weather means they may have to plant the wheat anyway. Traditionally November and December are dryer months than October so the outlook for more moisture at the end of the year doesn’t get better, Knapp said.

Even though moisture has been down, the temperature has been up and that has provided an opportunity for late planting to germinate and grow before cold weather sets in. The longer the temperature stays above freezing the longer the plants have a chance to develop a root system that will help protect the plant during the winter and help prevent wind erosion.

“The weaker the plant the more vulnerable it is to that kind of blow out,” Knapp said.

Even though it hasn’t produced moisture, the dry warm weather has given farmers plenty of time to get the crop planted.

Across the state 86 percent of the winter wheat crop has been planted as of Oct. 17, said Jason Lamprecht, deputy director of Kansas Ag Statistics.

In south central Kansas in the Pratt area, 88 percent of the crop has been planted putting the area just slightly ahead of the state average.

The completed planting averages across the state are ahead of normal because the October moisture levels were low.

Because it is so late in the year, some farmers now have to dry plant the wheat and hope they can get some late season moisture so the wheat will at least have a chance to get up before dormancy sets in.

The dry weather has slowed some wheat planting because it has produced ideal weather for corn and soybean harvesting so some farmers are trying to balance planting and harvesting, Lamprecht said.