Snowfall helping with drought

WICHITA, Kansas – A layer of snow across central Kansas means mixed reviews for farmers and ranchers.

“Well, like with all farmers, it’s a little bit of good news and a little bit of bad news. When you get these really cold temperatures, if you have snow cover, your wheat is more likely to survive,” said David Leroy Farmer.

The snow can be very beneficial for crops, especially the winter wheat. But with the extreme cold, farmers say that the snow can make calving season very difficult

“The bad news is if you’ve got livestock, it’s a lot harder and a lot more work on the livestock. If you’re calving right now, it’s just really hard to make sure all the calves are taken care of, cause they can freeze really fast in this kind of weather.”

Calving season starts in February, and with the snow and wind, Leroy says that farmers have to be extra vigilant the day the calves are born.

“That first day of birth is really the most important day for the baby calf, and they are really amazing animals, and they’re usually up with in minutes nursing on the cow, but if it’s this cold, they can almost freeze to death before they get up.”

While cattle ranchers are now struggling with the snow, wheat farmers are relived for any bit of moisture even if it doesn’t make a major impact on the drought.

“It helps, but it’s just a start. We obviously need a good spring to keep things going. The last two years has taught us that you’re always grateful for moisture in Kansas.”

While the moisture from the snow puts a dent in the drought, the snow is really helpful for insulating winter wheat.

 

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