Dry Weather A Double Edged Sword For Wheat Growers

Much of the country is dealing with dry weather, which is both good news and bad news for the wheat community. First, the dry, and in many places, warm weather allows for planting to progress at a brisk pace. The latest figures show 68% of winter wheat is in the ground, ahead of the five year average of 61% for this time of year. Right now, Colorado leads the nation in winter wheat plantings.

However, the dry conditions are resulting in some issues with emergence. At 41% national, emergence is ahead of the five-year average. But USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey said he’s starting to see some areas where that dry weather is creating issues.

“So for example in Indiana where planting progress is well ahead of average, 47% five-year average of 38%, emergence is actually behind schedule just 8% emerged the five-year average of 13%.  When you see opposing numbers like that, that is often reflective of unfavorably dry conditions in other words you can plant but the crops not emerging properly.”

Rippey noted the dry weather/emergence issue is not just a problem in the lower Midwest but also a lot of the High Plains and stretching here in the Northwest. He added the emergence numbers will be something to watch as the winter progresses.

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