Kansas wheat planting and emergence off to a better start thanks to recent moisture

Posted October 7, 2021

Rain across Kansas was welcome last week, especially as nearly half of the Kansas wheat crop has now been planted and is starting to emerge. Producers — both those waiting now for fields to dry out enough to continue planting and those turning their attention to monitoring crop progress and condition — have new resources available to address key management areas. 

“The majority of Kansas wheat producers are still well within optimum planting windows for this year’s crop,” said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations for Kansas Wheat. “Moisture conditions have improved considerably in the last week, providing much-needed support for emergence for wheat ‘dusted in’ by producers and reassurance to those who waited for adequate moisture.”  

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, 42 percent of the Kansas wheat crop was planted as of October 3, behind 53 percent last year, but ahead of the five-year average. Planting is well over halfway done in the western half of the state, whereas planting in the central corridor is closer to a third complete and eastern Kansas is more variable. 

Overall emergence is also behind — reflective of farmers waiting for moisture and to avoid army cutworms — at 16 percent, behind 26 percent last year and near the five-year average of 19 percent. Track planting progress and the condition of the winter wheat crop each week at https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Kansas/

With the growing season now officially underway, Kansas farmers have new resources available to help manage their wheat crop throughout the year. Kansas Wheat and K-State Research and Extension partnered together to produce Wheat Rx, a new program to disseminate to Kansas wheat farmers the latest research recommendations for producing high-yielding and high-quality wheat. 

“While farmers cannot control the weather, conscientious management practices are essential to maximizing the yield and quality potential of this year’s wheat crop,” Harries said. “The Kansas Wheat Commission prioritizes research investments that help elevate the quality of the Kansas wheat crop, and putting the latest research into farmers’ hands is an essential next step in that work.” 

Wheat Rx publications and other educational outreach materials are designed to address key management areas of hard winter wheat. These publications contain recent data based on novel research funded in part by wheat farmers through the Kansas Wheat Commission’s two-cent wheat assessment. 

“In the last five years, we have learned a lot about the yield potential of wheat in Kansas as well as how to manage the crop to reach its economical optimum,” said K-State Research and Extension wheat and forages production specialist Romulo Lollato, who is coordinating the Wheat Rx program. “In this series of Extension materials, we will compile results from the latest research, both on small plots and at the commercial field level, to educate our growers on how to maximize their profitability through management of yield and quality of their wheat crop.”

New publications will be released on an ongoing basis, including updates to existing publications and accompanying videos. Learn more at kswheat.com/kansas-wheat-rx

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Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat