A mild winter and a wet and warm start to spring had many
But that changed over the weekend when unseasonable freezing temperatures blanketed the U.S. Plains and
"Before this happened we were looking at a really big, big crop. Now we're not going to have that," said Kansas Association of Wheat Growers-Kansas Wheat Commission spokesman Aaron Harries.
Kansas is the largest U.S. wheat producer, with an estimated 10.3 million acres planted to winter wheat this season, 23 percent of the country's total.
The frigid air that swept through the nation's midsection also blasted the next two largest winter wheat-growing states of
Lows ranged from 17 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit in
There was some talk about farmers tearing up damaged wheat fields in time to plant corn, which is in high demand amid competition between ethanol, livestock feed and food sectors.
Emerson Nafziger, extension agronomist at the
"I think it's going to be bad. In a lot of cases, there's little chance the crop will come back. I think a fair amount of wheat will be planted to another crop."