USAgNet - February 27, 2013
The second major snowstorm in a week for the southern Great Plains is delivering additional moisture to U.S. wheat crops that went dormant in November in the worst condition since at least 1985 because of a drought. More than a foot of snow was expected to fall in parts of the region, four days after a storm
brought as much as 20 inches, National Weather Service data show.
The precipitation may boost crop prospects in areas where fields have deteriorated after the most-severe drought since the 1930s, said Kim Anderson, an agronomist at Oklahoma State University.
"It won't break the drought, but this storm will be enough to get wheat that's established up and out of the ground and set it up for the rest of the year," Anderson said.
Many areas of the Plains face exceptional-drought conditions, which signal crop losses and water emergencies, according to the government. Winter wheat, a variety that accounts for more than 70 percent of total U.S. production, has been dormant since about November and will resume growth in March and
April. The crop is mostly harvested in June. Prices surged 19 percent last year.
Wheat conditions in Kansas improved in February because of snow, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The crop was rated 23 percent good or excellent as of yesterday, up from 20 percent at the end of January.
Each foot of snow means about an inch of moisture for plants.