U.S. Plains Rain Provides Little Relief To Dry Wheat

Light rains that fell over the driest areas of the U.S. western Plains last weekend provided little relief to the young wheat crop which will soon turn dormant, a forecaster said Monday.

“You are still looking at a situation that continues to deteriorate in those western areas – western Kansas, eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska,” said Mike Palmerino of Telvent DTN. “The remainder of the belt is doing OK given recent, significant rains.”

The worry among wheat watchers is that the dryness from western Kansas to eastern Colorado is preventing the young Hard Red Winter wheat crop from becoming well established before the harsh U.S. winter sets in. That makes the spring growing season critical as the area will need good rains to replenish soil moisture and promote yields.

Over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the southern Plains were mostly dry. The exception was very light rains of a trace up to 0.05 inch (1.3 mm) on Sunday night in the far western HRW wheat belt, Palmerino said.

The Plains were expected to turn dry for Tuesday to Sunday with the next chance of showers early next week.

In contrast, the Soft Red Winter wheat belt, stretching from the southern Midwest to the Mississippi Delta, received moderate to heavy rains since Friday.

“More is coming tonight and into Tuesday – they are getting healthy in a hurry, recharging soil moisture after all that dryness from August to October,” Palmerino said.

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