Bean harvest has ‘potential’

Just as June rains arrived to boost the corn crop to completion in Marion County, late August and September rains have arrived in time to potentially boost the soybean crop in a similar way.

The key word is ?potential,? warned Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts. The moisture, he said, is too late for early-planted beans, especially if they have begun to drop leaves signaling their maturation.

Roberts said the main benefit of late rains for beans is actually for second-crop beans, those normally planted late in the season following newly harvested wheat.

Yes, there?s a great chance many of those better-looking late-season beans could average yields as high as 25 bushels per acre. But, Roberts said, he isn?t going to make that kind of a estimate because too many things could still happen to the beans, particularly an early frost.

?A frost could still take us out, reduce the crop to nothing,? he said. ?There?s just a chance of a good double crop.?

The problem with this summer?s weather, Roberts said, is that the normal spring rains of April and May just didn?t happen. Then it rained in the first part of June to push some of the wheat through to a moderate crop, and get the soybeans started.

But then the area experienced a hot and dry July, with temperatures soaring some days above 100 degrees. As a result, Roberts said, some beans were helped by late-arriving rains more than others.

?We have varieties of beans that are long-maturing, late-season beans, and others that are short-season beans,? he said.

Farmers select varieties based on what they think will produce best on their soil at the time they are planting.

?Those beans that are really green,? Roberts said, ?are really probably helped by the rains. Those that are already turning color with bunches of orange leaves are probably not helped much by the rain.

?With some of those second-crop beans, it?s just been amazing since the rain started,? he added. ?Some of them look like they?re growing a foot a day. But it?s still too early to say how they?re going to do.?

Roberts said some bean fields just need another 20 days of growing time, others are going to struggle to make it.

?If I said any of them were going to do really well just yet, it could make me to be foolish or a liar,? he said.

Roberts added that it?s been an unusual growing season in Kansas, but then every year here is.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Statistics Service seems to support Roberts? observations. It rates the soybean crop potential for Septem?ber in Kansas at 3 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.

The service said beans at the stage of setting pods was at 95 percent this year compared to 93 percent last year. It said the percentage of soybeans dropping leaves at this time in September as part of the ripening process was at 11 percent this year compared to 8 percent last year.

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