Spring blizzard worries many wheat farmers in western Kansas
May 3, 2017
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A recent late-spring blizzard could prove to be disastrous for farmers in far western Kansas.
Some western Kansas farmers are reporting that much of their wheat was damaged or killed by the weight of wet snow over the weekend, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2p5vRk3 ) reported.
A more exact answer will come as dozens of agricultural analysts and industry experts examine hundreds of fields in central and western Kansas. They'll issue a forecast on the state's wheat condition and yield Thursday. No more snow is in the near forecast for western Kansas.
The Kansas wheat harvest had a value of about $2 billion last year.
The National Weather Service in Dodge City reports that the weekend's snow mostly affected a line of counties near the Colorado state line. The deepest accumulation was 16 to 18 inches.
On Monday, wheat futures jumped about 5 or 6 percent to $4.49 per bushel in anticipation of part the hard red winter wheat crop being wiped out.
Farmer Rusty Sherwood estimated losing about 80 percent of his crops.
"The heavy snow just broke it," he said. "It looks like someone drove a steamroller over it."
Sherwood said farmers in western Kansas have insurance, which will help recoup about 65 to 75 percent of the expected value of the crop.
"It's just really unfortunate to have this in the middle of a really tough ag economy," said Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission. "Having to rely on insurance is making it just that much harder."
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com