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Upcoming cold stretch not likely to hurt wheat crop, local farmers say

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Looking ahead to the next few days through Tuesday, low temperatures approaching the freezing point have Kansas farmers keeping a close eye on their crops. Looking at the extended forecast through the next few days the good news for farmers in south central Kansas is that as of Friday afternoon, if the weather stays at what Storm Team 12 is predicting, there won’t be much to worry about when it comes to the impact on wheat. Assuming the crop’s growth continues as anticipated, combines will start rolling into fields in about two months.

For local farmer Joseph Neville is focused on his cattle, at least for now. He said he’s not too concerned about his wheat and the cold, considering the crop’s current growth stage.

“We always say wheat has nine lives, so it can withstand quite a bit,” Neville said.

He said the colder temperatures could actually have some positive impacts on wheat.

“It is a little cold of a rain, but we will not turn any moisture away,” Neville said. “They are talking a hotter and dryer spring here, so we ill take any moisture we can.”

Jeff Seiler with the Sedgwick County Extension Office said the soil temperature should be okay through the weekend.

“Here in south central Kansas, our wheat is in the jointing and boot growth stage. As the wheat matures, it will be less cold tolerant, “Seiler said. “So our wheat closer to joint stage, it has to have temperatures of 24 degrees or below for a time of two hours to sustain freeze injury. For wheat closer to the boot stage, it is less cold tolerant. It is going to take temperatures of 28 degrees for about two hours to sustain any freeze injury.”

Neville said some area farmers are getting ready to plant corn or soybeans. But even for them, the cold should not last long enough to have a big impact on the crops.

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