Recent snow system was beneficial to wheat crops in Pratt, Kiowa, Stafford counties

Hannah Brown
Kiowa County Signal
Snow melts on a wheat field in southcentral Kansas.

Southcentral Kansas wheat crops likely benefitted from the recent cold weather and snowfall.  Kiowa County Extension Agent Wade Reh said it didn’t look like there was  any significant damage to the crop from the winter storm system that blew through last week.

“The wheat should have handled the recent weather pretty well,” said Reh. “We don't get too worried about winter kill unless the temp gets down to the single digits for a significant amount of time.”

The lowest temperate that was recently recorded was on Monday, November 30 when the thermometer hit 18 degrees. It stayed this temperature for a short amount of time so Reh believes the damage, if any, is superficial. 

Some of the leaf tips may have been nipped, but the damage is minimal, Reh said. The snowfall might be a benefit for this year’s crop in terms of acting as an insulator from the extreme cold, plus the moisture was much needed most everywhere. 

“Countywide, the benefits from the moisture we gained will far outweigh any damage that might have occurred,” said Reh. 

Pratt and Kiowa County farmer Randy Nusz said the wheat is early enough in its life cycle and there is still a lot of time until harvest. Nusz echoed what Reh said, commenting on the benefits that the moisture is good. 

“Moisture is always good this time of year, and I don't think that we can expect any damage at this point in time,” said Nusz. 

Some areas of Kiowa County reported several inches of snow last week, with Brandon Thompson  checking in with 7 inches at Haviland.

For the week ending Nov. 29, Kansas winter wheat condition rated 6% very poor, 16% poor, 45% fair, 30% good and 3% excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 95%, near 91% last year and 94% for the five-year average, according to USDA NASS.

Soil moisture supplies improved this week. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 16% very short, 35% short, 48% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 19% very short, 39% short, 41% adequate and 1% surplus.