WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A record-setting heat wave smothering residents, crops and animals is expected to last for at least the next seven days in parts of the state, authorities said Monday.
Hutchinson checked in as the hottest spot in the nation Sunday after temperatures hit 112 degrees and Wichita hit 111, National Weather Service meteorologist Chance Hayes said Monday. Records show temperatures of 111 have occurred only 10 times in Wichita since 1888.
Wichita already this year has recorded 18 days with temperatures over 100 degrees. Typically the state annually averages about 10 days of triple-digit temperatures. The record of 50 days was set in 1936.
The weather service has issued an excessive heat warning through Tuesday evening for much of northeast Kansas and several counties in southern Kansas. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s to lower 100s, with high humidity pushing the heat index from 105 to 115 degrees.
"Folks here in Kansas are pretty resilient to heat - since we have it year in and year out," Hayes said.
Hospitals in Wichita reported Monday just one case of people coming into emergency rooms suffering from heat exhaustion this past weekend.
Feedlot operator Steve Peterson said he lost 13 head of cattle to heat stress on Sunday at his north central Kansas facility. Although that is but a fraction of the 4,000 to 5,000 cattle he finishes out at MP&K Land and Livestock Co. in Lebanon, the financial loss amounts to $1,500 per animal.
"Death loss is something that is part of the business," he said. "Usually you don't factor in this high of a death loss."
The temperature reached 102 but with humidity of more than 60 percent and no wind, the heat index quickly rose to 140 degrees at the feedlot.
"Normally on Sunday we feed and everybody goes home," Peterson said. "By the time we realized how hot it got, there was nothing we could actually do at that po int in time."
Clayton Huseman, executive director of the Kansas Livestock Association's feed yard division said even beyond the death loss, the heat decreases performance and appetite in cattle because they aren't interested in eating during the heat.
"Everything is impacted, whether on grass or in a feedlot," Huseman said. "Just like people, nobody does good when it is so ridiculously hot."
The latest crop condition report released Monday by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also showed crops continued to decline under the scorching temperatures.
"Most crops can take short-term stress like that and bounce back fairly well," said Kraig Roozeboom, Extension agronomist at Kansas State University. "But the longer it stretches out, the harder it gets for the crop to bounce back and go ahead and produce something."
KASS rated about 18 percent of the corn in poor to very poor condition, with 31 percent rated as fair. About 43 percent was in go od condition with just 8 percent rated as excellent.
"The one I am most worried about is the corn crop because it has one chance to set seed on it, to set ears on the plant," Roozeboom said.
Kansas is the nation's sixth largest corn producer, harvesting 581.2 million bushels last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
KASS reported that 32 percent of the corn in Kansas has now silked. Even when pollinated, the unrelenting heat can affect the way the grain fills in the ears and therefore the yields
"We are at a very susceptible time for corn," Roozeboom said.
With forecast temperatures expected "back up into the furnace again" the Kansas wheat crop is going to be in extreme stress, he said.
"It does not bode well for it," he said.
KASS noted crop conditions were declining on the other major farm crops as well. The condition of the sorghum crop had declined so that it rated 22 percent of it in poor to very poor shape. About 16 percent of the soybeans also were rated in poor to very poor condition.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.