Fall crops could fare better than last year, agent says


You still may see a better fall crop harvest than last year.

Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said two rains received as the early wheat harvest was closing around Memorial Day in May probably are what staved off more dismal corn and soybean crop yield outlooks now.

Those rains, especially if more rain comes for the beans, may enable farmers here to take advantage of average crop prices that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported have increased 41 percent for corn and 26 percent for soybeans as of last week.

But that doesn’t mean the 100-degree days in June and on into July aren’t taking a toll on both crops.

“I still think that corn-wise, we’re in better shape than we were a year ago,” Roberts said. “That doesn’t mean, though, that this is true for everyone.

“Some of the ears at least have kernels for a harvest as a result of those rains. Those producers will harvest a crop.

“But there are a few producers with corn that isn’t making anything. They’re going to have to chop it up again (like they did for livestock feed in 2011).”

The corn isn’t necessarily all done in its development, but Roberts noted that with its relatively short time to silk and tassel, it just about is.

He said, “With the beans we still got some time. It’s a different kind of crop.

“They can even start blooming, and then when it gets dry and hot, they just don’t check out or die. They can sit there, wait on the rain, and still bloom and make more beans.

“I’m not saying the beans are going to make it, but they got enough rain early to bide their time.”

That opinion, Roberts said, is for the early planted beans. For the soybeans planted after wheat, even though the late May rains provided enough moisture to bring them up, he isn’t optimistic that they can make a crop.

“Boy oh boy, that deal looks kind of tough. It will take a lot of water, not just some little showers, to bring double-crop beans on.”

Nationally, USDA said the drought-stricken corn yield expectations for the entire United States are down to 146 bushels an acre from the 166 bushels predicted last month. Export projections for corn have been reduced 300 million bushels to 1.6 billion bushels, USDA said.

The agency was expecting supplies for the bio-fuel industry to be especially short with increasing demand coming from India, China and other developing countries.

The USDA said one problem for the soybean crop is that due to the warmer year, the crop is running a week ahead of last year without significant rains.

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service report last week said that the Kansas corn crop condition is now rated at 43 percent poor to very poor, 18 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

KASS rated 33 percent of soybeans as poor to very poor.

In an equally revealing related report, KASS rated stock water supplies as 51 percent short to very short with ponds drying up.

Roberts said it is difficult to be overly encouraging when the next seasonally significant rains normally don’t start until September.

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