A look at this year's winter wheat crop

Posted at 2:56 PM, Nov 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 15:56:05-05

The bread basket of the world, Kansas, produces 60 percent of the world's wheat that is used in the making of bread, crackers and cookies.

Wheat is one of the only crops that is affected by winter weather.

The wheat is planted in the fall, September, then it begins to grow until the weather becomes too cold. It goes into dormancy and stays that way until spring, usually at the end of February and March.

The crop needs a good establishment before it heads into dormancy. This means it germinates and grows a few inches.  This requires timely moisture and temperatures in the 50s and 60s for highs and 30s and 40s for lows. Then, during the winter, any moisture is welcomed as the western plains are dry areas. 

The best case scenario is that snow covers the crop for extended periods of time. This not only insulates it from the cold, but also will provide a nice slow influx of moisture when it melts. 

One of the key cities that is looked at in Kansas for Hard Red Winter Wheat moisture is Dodge City, Kan. Right now they stand about 2” of rainfall above average since Oct. 1. The recent heavy rain and winter precipitation all across the plains in recent weeks is good news for the young 2015-16 winter wheat crop.  

Using the breakthrough long-range forecasting technology, the LRC, we feel the wet weather pattern will last through the winter into spring. 

This is good news, so far, for this year's winter wheat crop, but we have a long way to go.


Jeff Penner can be reached at

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