Rain will help wheat, once farmers can plant it

A muddy field near Lakin

LAKIN, Kan. (KSNW) – The recent rains will help the wheat crop, but it’s causing a rain delay for those wanting to get out into the field.

“The ground’s wet, it’s looking really good for wheat planting,” said Lakin farmer Kyler Millershaski. “I’m a happy farmer right now. It’s a good day.”

The much-needed rain is a welcome turnaround for western Kansas farmers.

“Right now, we’re actually wetter at this point in time than what we were last year,” said Millershaski. “Now you go a week, 10 days ago, we were drier than we were a year ago. But right now, we’re looking pretty good for wheat and getting it up.”

The rain means producers have to wait for the land to firm up before they can finally plant.

“Before we were waiting because it was too dry,” said Millershaski. “Now we’ve got to wait because it’s too wet.”

The rain made it impossible to run the planters on the fields until they dry. Imagine squeezing a fist full of mud. It compacts. Once it dries, it’ll be too hard for the wheat to come up or the roots to grow down.

One problem with the planting delay is the creeping deadline to get maximum insurance coverage.

“In our county, it’s the 20th of October,” said Millershaski. “What that means is you have to have you crop planting before that. Otherwise, for each day after that that it’s planted, your coverage will drop.”

Delaying planting also means additional costs for the producer.

“The longer it takes you to plant, the more you have to plant, so that’s an added cost,” he said. “Not a horrible cost, but it is a cost, and especially in today’s economy, you want to be as efficient as you can with the dollars you put in.”

Millershaski says this is a problem he’s happy to deal with.

The low price of wheat has farmers turning to other crops.

Earlier this month, we reported that across the U.S., farmers planted the smallest number of acres of wheat since 1919.

Millershaski says the rain is motivating him to plant more wheat after his current corn harvest is done.

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