Winter Wheat crop in bad shape; needs rain to avoid heavy losses - KOTA Territory News

Winter Wheat crop in bad shape; needs rain to avoid heavy losses


The drought has without a doubt been hard on crops in the region, specifically Winter Wheat.

Whether or not the crop can be salvaged this year is still up in the air.

The moisture we receive in the month of April will determine exactly how much Winter Wheat can be saved.

"This is the driest I have seen in 40 years of farming, I have never seen it quite this dry, at all," says Winter Wheat Farmer Dave Wilson.

"The top soil moisture is very little, and the sub soil moisture is zero," says Wilson, who expects he'll lose quite a bit of this year's crop. "Right now, regardless, even if it does start raining, when you have an inadequate start to winter wheat in the fall, you'll be looking at a minimum of a 25% crop reduction, and it'll go downhill from there."

While some areas, specifically the Black Hills, have seen some moisture this winter. It's been very localized, meaning farms like Dave Wilson's, which rely on run off water to fill their reservoirs, in turn irrigating their fields, are coming up dry.
"There is still hope if we could get adequate rainfalls in the very near future," says Wilson, who also says about two to three inches spread over a few days would be the minimum his crop would need to produce even an average yield. "Well you're looking at an economic disaster, not only for farmers but for all the businesses in the area."

At this point Wilson says all he can do is wait, and hope for rain.

"We are just starting to see some of the crop come out of the ground, and in past years it would always come up in the fall pretty well, nice rows with lush green cover," says Wilson.

Wilson says many of his seeds haven't even sprouted.
He says if they don't get any moisture within a month he'll have to plant something other than Winter Wheat.

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