Ice storm brings much needed moisture to Kansas crops

Jan 24, 2017

Credit Kansas State Research and Extension

While last week’s ice storm wreaked a lot of havoc in the form of power outages, broken tree limbs and icy roads, it also brought much needed precipitation to Kansas’s wheat and alfalfa crops.

According to K-State Research and Extension, precipitation totals ranged from about .25 inch in far northwest Kansas to  just over three inches throughout south central and southeast Kansas. While the western fifth of the state only got about .15 inches of moisture, the snow cover is beneficial to the crop because it protects it from extreme cold temperatures.

Because winter wheat consumes very little water during the winter, with average consumption of less than 0.1 inch per week, the precipitation should be very beneficial to the crop, most of which was under some degree of drought stress.

Much of Kansas was under some level of drought conditions, ranging from abnormally dry in the central and south central portions of the state, to severe drought in the far southwest counties, so those areas are expected to see only moderate improvements to drought conditions.