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Western Kansas Wheat Hit by Hail Storm
USAgNet - 05/17/2018

Storms ripped through western Kansas from Wallace County to Ness County in a swath 10 to 15 miles wide early this week. Wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour and hail from pea-sized to baseball-sized broke out windows, dented cars and tore siding off of houses.

Wheat fields in the area weren't spared either. Fields that were already suffering from drought stress were completely destroyed by the "great white combine."

In Scott County, Glenda and Rich Randall estimate that they lost about 300 acres of wheat near their home. Within 10 minutes, marble sized hail paired with 70 mile per hour winds tore through their irrigated wheat field. The wheat was just beginning to head out, but after the storm, it appeared as though it had been mowed off by a dull blade. Glenda said, "You looked outside, and it just looked like winter." Rich estimated that field, which was planted late after corn, would have made 40 bushels per acre, but now was a total loss. A field to the west also suffered severe damage, but Rich estimated it was only a 50% loss. On the upside, the Randalls did have multi-peril and hail insurance, as hail is common in their area.

A few miles to the east, the Ramseys surveyed their fields near Manning. Marc, who returned to farm with his dad, Craig, in 2011 said this was the worst he's seen. From the road, the fields still looked somewhat lush, but upon closer inspection, heads were bent over and stalks were broken in half. The smell of freshly cut grass was in the air. Divots in the ground showed how much force the hail had. The fertilizer tanks on the top of their corn planter had holes in the top. Although they have federal crop insurance, they do not have additional hail insurance. Marc said he couldn't even hear the wind and rain over the sound of the hail. Estimates from the area included baseball-sized hail up to one report of cantaloupe-sized. Neighbors in the area estimated that up to two-thirds of their crop was destroyed.

To the west, David and Lisa Schemm farm near Sharon Springs in Wallace County. The storm directly hit their house and fields near the house, which appear to be a total loss. The pre-hail yield estimate for the 325 acre field near their house was 42 bushels per acre.

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