Rain Monday will help wheat farmers and cause a pause in fall harvest
Dry wheat fields got some much needed rain Monday as a weather front made its way across Kansas. After receiving only 0.85 inches of rain for the month of September, not including the rain received Monday, Pratt was well over an inch below the 2.38 inches that is normal for the month, said Mary Knapp, state climatologist.
However much rain the Pratt area receives, the farmers will appreciate the moisture. With limited moisture to work with, some farmers have gone ahead and dusted in wheat, mostly in fields that will be used for grazing purposes, said Pratt County Extension Agent Mark Ploger.
Depending on the amount of rain, it should be enough to get the wheat that is planted up and growing. If the rain is spotty, some areas could dry out quickly and that could be an issue for young plants.
Not a whole lot of wheat for the 2018 crop has been planted. History has shown that early to mid October is the best time to plant wheat over the long haul. Some varieties are planted earlier but with these rains, farmers will be heading to fields soon.
With the grain markets still at low levels, the number of acres planted to wheat will probably be down this year and that is following a trend. The wheat crop last year come from the second smallest number of acres planted in the state but the yield was high so it made up for the decrease in acres.
While farmers wait on the rain, they are busy with the fall harvest. Dry land soybeans are maturing pretty fast and machines are in the fields cutting as soon as fields are ready. The early dry land beans got stressed and are not the best quality but the later beans tend to yield better, Ploger said.
The irrigated beans look look good and have some maturing to go. Like every year, farmers want to get the crop in before anything severe happens.
The dry land corn is all but harvested. There are a few fields that have been cut for silage.
There were some hot days during pollination and thats not good for corn. The irrigated corn is drying out and should be ready to go from 10 days to two weeks but the moisture content is still a little high. Grain elevators want moisture no higher than 14 percent and 12 percent is better because it works better for storage.
Cotton is doing well in Pratt County in spite of some unusual cooler weather in August. Cotton loves heat and the higher the heat, the better the crop. Cotton looks pretty good and could be the crop that pays off best in 2017, Ploger said.
"We have pretty good acreage in cotton this year. It could be one of our more lucrative crops," Ploger said.
The milo crop isn't quite ready to go yet. There is some harvesting in Kiowa and Edwards Counties but not in Pratt County yet.
Even though Pratt hasn't gotten much rain in September, Pratt is still ahead of their average rainfall for the year by about 0.50 inches. The average year-to-date for Pratt is 23.62 inches and as of Monday, before the rain, Pratt had received 23.16 inches for year-to-date.
Pratt County is currently abnormally dry to moderately dry across the state. If the county gets about two inches of rain it would drop the abnormally dry to no drought and drop moderately dry to abnormally dry.
How ever much rain the area gets will