Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Mother Nature pummels Leavenworth County crops

June 13, 2001

In the beginning, there was wheat.

But after a June 1 hailstorm cut a swath through parts of Leavenworth County, there was not.

Rick Abel, executive director of Leavenworth County Farm Service Agency, and his board members toured the county to assess crop damage.

"In places in the hay and wheat it honestly looked like a rotary mower had gone through it," Abel said. "The wheat has no head left on it at all all you can see are the rows, like someone drove through it with a mower and mowed it off."

Before that, he said, the wheat was starting to turn to gold and was only weeks from harvest, Abel said.

"It wasn't excellent wheat," Abel said. "But it was good and it had a chance of making close to a normal crop of from thirty-five to forty-five bushels to the acre."

Tom Norman, who lives about eight miles southeast of Tonganoxie, saw his crops trampled by the storm.

"It totally wiped out my wheat," Norman said.

The storm also destroyed his soybean crop.

"We're still trying to assess the damage on the corn," Norman said. "I don't know whether it totaled it out or not."

Until the crops have more time to recover, Abel said, the damages are unknown.

"At this time, it's anybody's guess how much will come out of it," Abel said. "The corn could recover and look fairly normal and yet still be susceptible to disease because of the damage to the stalk, which could even affect the productivity and we wouldn't know that until harvest."

Even areas not effected by the hailstorm have been overly saturated with water, Abel said.

Mark Theis, who farms north of Easton on Stranger Creek, recalled last week's rising waters.

"Monday evening it rose pretty rapidly, which forced them to close Millwood Road, and when it gets over Millwood Road, it gets pretty deep on our fields."

Corn and soybean in the lower land was covered with as much as six feet of water, Theis said.

North of Leavenworth, George Hildebrand farms Missouri River bottom ground.

His soybeans were about three inches tall, he said.

"I've got 135 acres in one piece and the water covered about seventy-five percent of it," Hildebrand said.

But fortunately, he said, it's still early in the season.

"In case there's some damage," Hildebrand said, "we can get a jump on it and get the fields replanted before it's too late."

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