April has been an unusually cold month this year with three separate freezes, on the 9th, 10th and 23rd through 24th.
"The freezes on the 9th and 10th were both very cold," Bryan Boroughs, a technical support agronomist from Servi-Tech said. "Temperatures fell into the mid teens. The freeze on the 24th was also cold, with temps falling into the mid 20's."
It's clear that the wheat crop in western Kansas has suffered, but the extent is still unknown.
"There are very few things that definite," Boroughs said, "but we're evaluating the situation very carefully week by week to see how to move forward."
Boroughs said that the extent of the damaged crop depends on when the wheat was planted. If it was planted on time, and had matured to the point where tillers were out, then the damage is probably pretty severe. If the wheat was planted later, and not as mature, there is a chance it will be fine.
"I've seen a lot of damaged wheat," Boroughs said, who services the area from Dodge City to Garden City and south. "But not 100 percent anywhere, so that's good news."
According to Boroughs, wheat planted on irrigated versus dryland will also effect the damage done to the crop. Irrigated wheat will probably suffer more damage from the freeze.
Boroughs also said that while the freeze was damaging, the ongoing drought will also be a factor in wheat production.
"The drought is just as important of a factor in the wheat crop as the freeze," Boroughs said, "but it seems like media are just focusing on the freeze."
Part of Boroughs's job is to monitor the moisture levels in soil, and he said that because of the ongoing drought, wheat is running out of stored profile moisture, which can also do significant damage.
According to a press release from K-State Research and Extension, smaller wheat that wasn't as badly damaged by the freeze will need a lot of moisture to produce much grain.
Moving on from the freeze farmers must decide if they want to wait and see if their wheat crop will make it, or if they should try to plant a secondary crop.
"The freeze will definitely have an impact on the western Kansas wheat production, but we just can't say how much at this time," Boroughs said.
Economically, there will also be an impact, and as Boroughs reiterated the drought has already had an impact.
"We're expecting lower yields this season," Boroughs said, but we're not sure how much."
For more information about the frost and the damage it caused to crops, visit dodgeglobe.com and view a video from Servi-Tech.