Local corn harvest coming as two seasons

You could say we are ending up with more than one corn crop this year.

Some of it is being harvested now, and some of the corn is still partly green.

So, what?s happening?

To begin with, Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said corn planting this year was more spread out than usual.

Some fields were planted in early April, and that?s most likely what you see being harvested now, he said.

Other corn fields were delayed in planting by spring rains accompanied by slow-drying soil for planting in chilly weather, he said.

Added to this, Roberts explained that some corn varieties are longer season and some are shorter season. Genetically, some varieties take longer to produce corn than others with accompanying advantages or disadvantages playing out according to the type of weather.

Roberts confirmed that corn trying to tassel and pollinate in too dry, nearly triple-digit temperatures usually drops in yield.

He said early-planted corn likely won?t be having good yields this year. But the late-planted corn has a chance to be good compared to the heat and drought-stricken crops of the past two years.

Yields depend largely on several factors, including moisture, heat, maturation rate and killing frost date.

Roberts said he really can?t predict yield. But, ?to give a wild, uneducated guess of my own, certainly with no guarantees, I have a bright hope that we may be seeing a lot of 100-bushel corn in the late-planted (fields).

?What the likelihood of that is, I really can?t say.?

To illustrate the point, Roberts said earlier this summer when rain became abundant, he began hoping for 50-bushels-an-acre of soybeans. But the hot weather with no rain over a prolonged time since then has probably reduced that hope to 40 bushels.

Recent data for Kansas from the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Statistical Service support Roberts? observations. The agency said corn that was dented approaching final harvest accounted for 94 percent of the crop during last year?s drought while this year the figure is at 75 percent.

As of last Thursday, NASS said Kansas farmers were on track to harvest 38 percent more corn than last year. The increase is due largely to heavy rainfall in late July and early August.

Sue Schulte, spokeswoman for the Kansas Corn?growers Association, said corn acreage in the state was increased by 6 percent to 4.2 million acres this year over last year.

Corn yields in some areas will make 125 bushels to the acre, she said, while last year the state?s average was 25 bushels an acre.

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