Wheat crop is off to a late start

Rain delay pushed back planting winter wheat

KEARNY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Wheat may be king in southwest Kansas, but this year’s winter crop is off to a late start.

“This is actually a really weird year,” said Kearny County farmer Kyler Millershaski.

For the Millershaskis, wheat planting started late this year.

“We’re putting down about 60 pounds of wheat per acre,” said Millershaski. “That equates to basically a large laundry basket over a football field.”

He says in a normal year, they’d use about 40 to 50 pounds per acre.

“That growth period before winter isn’t as big as it typically is, so we’re having to plant a higher seeing rate.”

A rainy September meant they had to wait for the ground to dry before they could plant.

“We’ve had, in some places, over 30 inches of rain this year. Typically we’re around 17, so almost double what we typically have.”

Normally the Millershaskis would have finished planting about a month ago. Because of the rain delay, Kyler says only about a fourth of the wheat in their area has been planted so far, meaning his neighbors are starting late, too.

“I’m not complaining about the rain,” he said. “It just pushed things back a little bit.”

Kyler and his family are giving it their all to work through a tight time frame.

“So we might be drilling wheat, picking corn, and cutting milo all in the same day. I’m gonna miss those nights of full rest,” he said with a laugh.

The ground dried just in time in southwest Kansas. Kearny County farmers like Kyler have until the October 20 to plant their wheat to get maximum crop insurance coverage.

A full list of deadlines for all counties can be found here.