Solid fall harvest caps strong year

Marion County farmers may have an extra good Thanksgiving in November.

With soybean harvest about 75 percent complete in late October, and with the milo ?looking like it?s going to be a very good crop,? Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said, ?It?s looking like a better deal than it was for the last couple of years.

?It?s much better. It?s something to be thankful for in Marion County and most of Kansas.?

This isn?t happening necessarily because the soybean harvest has been particularly outstanding, Roberts said, but because the area has managed to have relatively good harvests for all crops.

Unlike in former years, he said, there?s been no overall failures in crop yields.

The yield in some soybean fields was reduced to the range of 10 bushels an acre by hail storm damage, Roberts said. But the average was increased by other fields with bigger yields.

Roberts said he would guess some farmers had beans yielding in the 50 bushels an acre range.

The remaining 25 percent of beans to be cut, he said, were second crop predominately planted on fields after wheat was harvested.

He predicted that many of those beans, although short by the time frost stops their growth, will still yield surprisingly well.

The wheat crop had the moisture to finish well for harvest in early summer. Then, the corn crop had additional rains to finish relatively well, Roberts said.

The big question, Roberts said, is what some of those corn farmers will do next year. He said with corn dropping to $4 a bushel from earlier prices in the $6 range, producers may be turning corn acreage to wheat or soybeans instead.

?I?m anxious to see what they do next spring,? he said.

Roberts said to plant a crop like corn, farmers have to command a higher price than they did in past years.

?The price of production makes it a terrible lot different than it used to be,? he said.

According to Roberts, hybrid seed corn costs in the neighborhood of $300 a bag, and fuel prices to run big machines over the ground have risen significantly. It?s changed to a different game and a different strategy than it was back in the days when farmers were selling $2 a bushel corn, he said.

Roberts hoped the rain Friday would be sufficient to give much of the newly planted winter wheat in the county a start to finish well next spring. He said wheat is planted at a shallow depth, and needs good fall moisture to bring it up in an even stand.

In the meantime, he said, ?The milo is going to yield a good crop this year. It?s looking like a killer deal.?

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