If there ever is a Spring season that can be described as "normal", this is not it. For example, April snow storms and freezing temperatures in Kansas have damaged nearly 70 percent of the winter wheat crop. The state's first cutting of alfalfa has been lost and some of the early corn sown in southeast Kansas will have to be replanted.
The Kansas Agriculture Department will conduct a survey around May 1 in an attempt to document yield losses so the state can seek emergency disaster declarations for the counties affected.
The story is not as dramatic in all of farm country, because much of the Midwest has yet to put a crop in the ground. Old Man Winter has been reluctant to leave and the frigid temperatures, rain and snow have farmers behind schedule.
The weather has shut-out farmers in the top corn producing states of Iowa and Illinois but Southern states have had better luck with Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas more than half-way to the goal. Overall, only 4 percent of the corn has been planted which is less than half of the 5-year average of 9 percent.
Only six of the 15 cotton states have begun planting. Of the farmers in the top producing states only Texas and Georgia are on the move. Overall, 9 percent of the work is done which is 3 percent behind last year.
Weather has put the kybosh on most of the spring wheat planting. Only 6 percent is completed which is 3 percent behind last year but 9 percent behind the 5-year average of 15 percent.
An early spring snowstorm in the plains damaged a portion of the nation's Winter wheat crop but 55 percent is still rated as good to excellent. According to USDA statistics, a big freeze hit the Winter wheat crop in 1997 and the bins still filled up with over 500 million bushels.