By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
BUCYRUS, KS (KCTV) -
A new report shows the recent snowfall in Kansas has helped relieve some drought conditions. However, many farmers are hoping there is more rain on the way.
Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service said Monday the melting snow has improved soil moisture in parts of the state. Water levels in stock ponds are also showing slight improvement.
But the agency says more moisture is still needed.
Farmer Frank Moley does everything he can to make sure the livestock on his Bucyrus, KS, farm are well taken care of. But over the last year or so, that has proven more difficult than ever before.
"It has been tough," Moley said.
Moley has several ponds and creeks on his land, but lately they've been nearly bone dry. All the recent snowfall did help but not nearly enough.
"Most of that water is going straight into the ground. The ground is so dry it is absorbing it. If you had rain for a few days, it would get saturated and eventually run off," Moley said.
Topsoil moisture levels across Kansas are now rated 49 percent short to very short, while subsoil moisture levels are 83 percent short to very short. Stock water supplies are 85 percent short to very short.
Meanwhile, 35 percent of the winter wheat crop is rate in poor to very poor condition. About 41 percent of the wheat is in fair condition, with 23 percent rated good and 1 percent in excellent condition.
Moley has been forced to tap into city water to keep his cows hydrated. But that is not cheap, stretching his already tight margins to the limit.
Farmers are now hoping to get several inches of rain over the next few months, and the clock is ticking, Moley says. His ponds need to be full to get him through the summer.
"They need to be full by April to take that long hot dry summer," he said.
Despite all the hardship, Moley says he'll keep pressing on and his fellow farmers wouldn't have it any other way.
And to make matters worse, Moley says his cows eat about three times more food during cold weather which is just another expense to an already tight budget.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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