Kansas Wheat Commission president Justin Gilpin, right, talks about the quality of this year’s local wheat during a stop in Cheney this week on the wheat tour. A spring snowstorm has hurt this year’s crop. Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle
Kansas Wheat Commission president Justin Gilpin, right, talks about the quality of this year’s local wheat during a stop in Cheney this week on the wheat tour. A spring snowstorm has hurt this year’s crop. Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

Agriculture

Kansas Wheat Tour puts a number on snowstorm’s toll

May 04, 2017 04:50 PM

UPDATED May 05, 2017 06:44 AM

The members of the Kansas Winter Wheat Tour estimated this year’s crop at 282 million bushels, which is down 40 percent from last year’s record.

That drop mostly reflects last weekend’s blizzard that buried about two dozen counties in far western Kansas, plus disease and fewer acres planted in wheat.

The best estimate for the start of harvest is early June. That could change considerably, based on the amount of heat, sun and rain between now and harvest.

One of the big unknowns is how much of the wheat buried in the blizzard will put out wheat kernels.

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Days after weekend snowstorm, a Kansas wheat tour

The Kansas Winter Wheat Tour made its way from Colby to Wichita Wednesday to check the state's wheat crop. Kansas Wheat Commission CEO Justin Gilpin headed the tour and talked from a stop in Cheney about what they saw. (Video by Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle)

fsalazar@wichitaeagle.com

During the annual tour this week, scores of industry professionals visited hundreds of fields across the state.

The reduced wheat harvest is another blow to many farmers in Kansas who already were facing tough financial straits, living on borrowed money because of low crop prices.