Ukrainian crisis, crop yield worry Kansas wheat farmers

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 7:05 PM CST
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ROSSVILLE, Kan. (WIBW) - Ukraine and Kansas share an agricultural connection with wheat being a major crop in both areas.

Data from the International Trade Centre shows Russia and Ukraine combined produce about 26 percent of the world’s wheat exports.

According to Leroy Russell with the the K-State Research and Extension Office in Shawnee Co., wheat is one of Kansas’ three major crops.

He said typically, the current fighting between Russia and Ukraine would create opportunity for financial gain for Kansas wheat farmers.

Instead, the crisis adds to a growing list of stresses on farms.

Wheat was planted in the plot at the Kansas River valley Field test farm near Rossville mid-fall.

At this point in the growing season, the plot should be a field of green. Instead there is a lot of brown.

“It didn’t grow much over the winter because of the weather and the cold and hot, it never got started out of dormancy,” Russell said.

The lack of growth is one of many challenges facing wheat farmers.

“It’s up in the air so much right now, it’s scaring everyone because our acres are down in Kansas, too,” he said.

“We had a really wet fall and then army worms come in so not as much was planted here in Kansas, now, there’s a shortage and the prices have skyrocketed on wheat.”

He said soon enough, consumers will feel the effects of the farmers’ struggles in their wallets.

“The effect on consumers is going to be a higher price when they go to buy bread or something made out of wheat,” he said.

“You’re seeing it clear across the board from livestock to other things made on farms.”

As for farmers, Russell said even with the demand for wheat, they will be lucky to end the season breaking even.

“They’re getting a higher price for wheat, corn and soybeans but they’re paying a higher price for fuel, chemicals,” he said.

“Fertilizer’s almost double this year and if they breakdown and need a part for a tractor they can’t even find it at times.”

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