Western Kansas snowstorm causes crop worries

HEALY, Kan. (KSNW) – Blankets of snow are still covering most of western Kansas fields. In Lane County, they saw 18 inches of snow, and because of that, many wheat crops are starting to snap. It’s caused farmers to wonder if the wheat will recover.

On Monday, it was the first time Vance Ehmke stepped outside to look at thousands of acres of his wheat crop covered in snow.

His wheat used to stand knee-high, but the snow has caused some of it to flatten.

“If the plant is young enough, it will come back up, he said. “But we’ll wait and see here.”

That’s just of his concerns after the snowstorm.

“You could feel that,” said Ehmke, grabbing a handful of snow from the ground. “That’s 32 degrees or less.”

The freezing temperatures can also impact the wheat. Depending on the stage of crop development, farmers are worried about freeze damage, which can have a huge impact on their yield.

“This morning I was thinking we were probably okay, but now I’m beginning to wonder,” Ehmke said.

Until the snow starts to melt and the growing period resumes, Ehmke, and many western Kansas farmers, won’t know exactly how much damage the snowstorm caused to their crops.

“We’ll just cross our hearts and hope to die that it comes out okay,” Ehmke said.

However, he’s prepared for it to be costly.

“It could easily be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars, like your entire income for the year,” said Ehmke. “How would you like to work all year and make nothing?”

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.