Corn harvest still shows strong potential

The corn harvest here is likely to start the end of this week or only a few days past that.
Marion County may have a record corn crop for modern times this year, according to some observers. Or it may be a non-record, but still a very good corn crop.
The recent trend has been a nearly extraordinary rise in corn acreage in response to higher prices coupled with better varieties tolerant of Kansas conditions.
It?s noticeable to drive down country roads with excellent corn fields standing far above the car hood on either side of the road.
But there?s a chance you may only be seeing two of the more excellent fields in the county, according to Rickey Roberts, county extension agent.
Some areas, Roberts said, have good aggregate, bottom-type fertile soils that are just right for best corn yields, while fields in other areas have tighter upland soils that range from good to only marginal for corn.
Also, some areas of the county had some good rains when the corn needed the moisture, he said, while in other areas rain didn?t fall so abundantly, and yields will fall a little short.
It may not be a record, but a mixed bag, Roberts said. But the proof is recorded that the county has moved toward more acres designated for corn.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Director Sara Morey said Marion County farmers reported planting 45,468 acres of corn for 2014.
Morey said that compares to county farmers reporting planting 27,563 acres in 2008, 28,462 acres in 2009, 39,545 acres in 2010, 43,910 acres in 2011, 42,435 acres in 2012 and 46,895 acres in 2013.
So, the general trend has been upward?likely in response to markets.
?I wouldn?t necessarily say that the difference between 2013 and 2014 is statistically significant,? Morey said. ?But from 2008 to 2014 there has been (a significant difference).?
?Price may have a lot to do with the difference over the years.?
Nearly every report by Kansas State University on corn demand highlights the increase in demand for ethanol additive to gasoline as a part of price determination.
Roberts said some of the rain showers this summer ?got pretty spotty? with corn on one side of a road getting perhaps a half-inch downpour while rain across the road got a few drops or nothing.
That said, Roberts added, ?There?s still corn out there. There?s been years when we hardly had any corn out there.?
Last year was about as good a harvest as the county has had in recent memory, Roberts said, and this year could be at least a repeat.
He warned that any estimates he gives now are speculative, but he said there could be corn yields in the 70-bushels-per-acre category going on up to some fields yielding 150 bushels per acre.
Corn harvest traditionally begins in this area in early September, but for some of the rapidly ripening early varieties, Roberts said it could begin as early as the end of the week.
Corn isn?t the only fall crop showing potential.
?Just look at those soybeans out there,? Roberts said.
Beans are looking good, he said, and just like the corn, they have taken an increasing share of tillable acres in Marion County.

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from Jerry Engler
County to receive $1 million grant to replace missing signs
Marion County is receiving a $1 million state grant that is expected...
Read More