Sumner Newscow weekly poll: The Westborough paving project question

first_img Loading … // Who should pay for new streets at Westborough Estates in Wellington? The city should pay for everything. They caused this mess. The current split of 50 percent from the city and 50 percent from the property owners is fair. The property owners should pay for everything. No one else uses the streets. The project doesn’t need done. Patching and sealing is fine. View Resultslast_img

The 2015 wheat crop has had a little of everything, but will it have a harvest?

first_imgBy Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — How could you describe the 2015 Sumner County wheat crop? Well, if you could list everything that could go wrong with a wheat crop: drought, over saturation of moisture, late freeze, wheat disease, hail, pests… etc., it can be associated with this year’s crop. “This wheat crop has had everything thrown at it but the kitchen sink,” said Randy Heim, Sumner County Extension Agent. So when it said and done will there be a wheat crop? Ask many Sumner County farmers and the prevailing wisdom is the wheat is dead or someone should administer the last rites. Heim, who considers himself an optimist, thinks there is some good wheat to be cut later this month. “I know we say it a lot, but it all depends on what happens between now and harvest,” Heim said. “Some of the wheat in the lower terraces have drowned out. But there is still some decent wheat out there.” Heim said it all depends on a number of factors and he anticipates that yields will be all over the place. Obviously, the first thing to happen if the 2015 wheat harvest can be salvaged is for the fields to dry out. Right now the 10-day forecast from The Weather Channel said there is chance of rain this weekend with 60 percent of rain on Monday and Tuesday.According to the Sumner Newscow rain gauge, 15.3 inches of rain fell in Wellington in May. While rain measurements vary greatly across the county, there is no doubt the amount ended up being too much of a good thing. “I think we would have been fine had it not been that last batch or rain we got over Memorial weekend,” Heim said of the 3-plus inches of rain on May 23-25. “It has been too wet for too long.” Heim said the combination of dry and wet conditions has produced a wheat head that is all over the place. During the dry spell, primary tiller shot up and was beginning to fill when the rains hit. That was great. But because of the abundance of moisture, the wheat plant produced a secondary tillers which is taking its time developing. So now, farmers are dealing with a plant of ripe primary tiller berries and those secondary tiller berries still not quite to ripe enough for maturity. He’s afraid the old berries will eventually shatter because it has been in the head so long. Then there are the other issues. Weeds are about to take off now that we have had a few dry (or dry type) days. Pests have also formulated causing another worry for farmers. In a twist of fate, a hail storm rolled through a patch of south-central Sumner County in April. Hail is usually a curse to all farmers, but this time it might have been a good thing because it set the wheat back enough that it had time to rebound and start all over, Heim said. It wasn’t too long ago, the 2015 wheat crops was on a respirator because of the drought. From October to April there was 4.73 inches of rain and just 1.5 inches from January to April 1. But then the rains hit. First it was a godsend, as the crop rebounded nicely over the first two weeks of May. “There for awhile we were going from nothing to an average to above average wheat crop,” Heim said. It was right around this time the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that Kansas farmers would harvest 272 million bushels of wheat this years, which would put wheat production up 10 percent from last year’s harvest of 246.5 million bushels, the worst in 25 years. USDA official thought expected yields in Sumner County would be around 32 bushels an acre. But that was before the rain would not relinquish its hold on the area, leaving much of the wheat in the fields to rot. Heim is guessing that harvest won’t start until mid to late next week. Then there is the spring crops. The abundance of moisture should give the spring crops a good start. Problem is, farmers need to get in the field to plant, and time is running out. The window of opportunity to plant soybeans and milo and harvest a decent crop later is closing. Those who have already planted milo, may need to replant it again. The lone exception is corn that was planted early and is now robustly growing in fields, Heim said. As always, no matter what the condition of the crop is, the key to its success is what farmers can get for it. And the wheat market continues to stay low. As of Monday the price was $4.82 a bushel. Surplus level of grain in foreign countries, the highest in four years, has not helped the Sumner County wheat farmer. Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! 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