Winter Weather Wallops Wheat
This year was the first year Gordon Hauck chose to sow wheat. With the recent cold snap, Hauck found out this year may not have been the best choice. Damage to the crops at this stage can mean big losses, which some farmers may not be able to handle.
"The unfortunate part of this is a lot of young farmers starting up can not afford these kinds of losses. Some may have crop insurance and so forth, but we can weather the storm. It's not that big a deal, I guess," said Hauck.
The leaves on some plants are brown, while some leaves are green. However, it's not the leaves that matter. Deep in the plant in the stem, the color of head will determine how well the plant will survive. A white or green head is a sign of a healthy plant, while a dark and mushy head means the head is damaged.
Jim Jarmer from the Callaway County Extension Center helps farmers figure out what condition their wheat is in. Jarmer has been finding a lot of signs of damaged crops.
"Last week I was optimistic. I thought we had gotten away with the cold temperatures and the wheat hadn't been damaged, just because the symptoms of injury hadn't shown up. But now they're apparent," said Jarmer.
Jarmer found damage to the stems of Hauck's wheat, estimating a potential yield of about half of what it should be. Although some farmers may choose to grow another crop in place of the wheat, Hauck plans to wait a little while before he makes any final decisions.
Jarmer says in the next few days, damage to the wheat will become more obvious. Although it's evident there was damage to crops, there is no statewide estimate as to the extent.