Kansas farmers prepare for season's first freeze

Published: Oct. 10, 2019 at 3:25 PM CDT
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Freezing temperatures across Kansas Thursday night cause concern for some farmers currently harvesting soybeans, beginning to plant winter wheat and preparing to harvest Milo in a few weeks.

Every year about this time, farmers anticipate the possibility of the first freeze, but knowing it's coming doesn't eliminate challenges associated with the turn.

Saline County farmer Mark Laas says crops like milo surviving the cold depend on the plant's maturity.

"It can have an impact. At least my crops are mature enough that I don't think this year will be a problem with an early freeze,' he says.

With so much rain this past spring, some farmers planted crops late and what they planted may not be mature enough yet to survive the freeze.

"There'll be some fields where there'll be a yield reduction, no doubt," Laas says.

But with crops that do survive, the cold can have a benefit, including drying up milo and making it easier to harvest in a few weeks.

The rain also affected planting winter wheat, a job Laas started Thursday.

"We're certainly not late, but we're dealing with some wet fields," he says. "We would already have had some crops put in if it weren't for the rain we received."

Looking ahead, Laas says the outlook for winter wheat is optimistic, as long as days of heavy rainfall don't come during next year's summer harvest.