Crop damage likely without rain – early wheat harvest underway
No rain could spell trouble for area farmers as crops succumb to the dry conditions of late. This week could be the indicator of that, says Norder Agri Supply manager at Hebron Larry Seaman. “If we don’t get some rain this week, we could start seeing some serious damage to corn and beans, especially dry land crops,” he said.
According to the National Weather Service, Thayer County is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions, but is not yet in a drought. However, the U.S. Seasonal Outlook from the NWS Climate Prediction Center indicates these conditions will persist or intensify for the next three months.
In the meantime, wheat harvest is already underway. “We’ve gotten in about 60,000 bushels,” Seaman said. “We’re expecting 250,000 this year, which is a little down from last year, but not much.”
Seaman said the wheat that is arriving at the Hebron elevator is good in quality and weight even though it’s about three weeks ahead of schedule.
With unusually mild conditions this past winter the crop was able to mature quickly. And, since the area did not receive any spring cold snaps or snowfall to stop or stunt the growth, the crop was able to fully mature at a record-breaking speed. Locals are hard pressed to remember when wheat was ready this early in the year.
In fact, some producers thought if they could get the wheat out of the field early enough, a second planting of corn or beans could go in. “That was earlier in the season when we were getting rain,” Seaman said. “Now with the dry conditions, that kind of talk has dropped off.”