The second CG&S ?Fall Field Day? had a very different feel this time around


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What a difference a year makes.

One year ago, Cooperative Grain & Supply launched its first ?Fall Field Day? with an enthusiastic response from producers who came with expectations of a potential bumper harvest for corn, soybeans and milo only weeks away.

On that day, representatives from the participating seed companies enthusiastically promoted their new varieties and the potential for even better harvests ahead.

It was quite a different story Thursday, as about 65 producers sought relief from triple-digit temperatures under the large blue and white tent posted in the middle of the CG&S test plot east of Hillsboro along U.S. Highway 56 to hear what they already knew to be true.

?It?s been quite a challenging growing season,? Kevin Suder?man, CG&S agronomist and a leading event organizer, told the group in his opening remarks.

How challenging? The seed reps didn?t even bother to put their company identification signs in front of the corn test plots this year. Those plots, a short stone?s throw from the tent, had all but shriveled to nothing during the unprecedented heat and drought of this summer.


?This harvest is about done for,? said one rep. ?The best we can do is look forward to next year.?

Companies participating in the test plot are Asgrow, Mycogen Seed, Dekalb, Croplan Genetics, Phillips Seed and Stine, all of whom sell seed through CG&S.

One producer, chatting privately before the meeting started, said with a rueful grin that one of his cornfields made 22 bushels per acre.

The average yield this year, he was told, was maybe 35?a far cry from the average statewide estimate of 110 bushels per acre, thanks to areas of the state that have received substantially more rain this summer.

Even though Kansas corn producers planted the largest corn acreage in modern times this year, hot and dry conditions will cause the 2011 harvest to be 15 percent smaller than last year, according to the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

Meanwhile, the local outlook for soybeans was marginally more encouraging. A few rains earlier this month raised hope for a potential harvest this fall, Suderman said, but those hit-and-miss rains will make yields hard to predict?especially if the this area doesn?t receive additional rainfall soon.

Suderman said the milo test plots were heading and the heads ?looked pretty decent.? But on this evening, at least, flocks of birds were making a pre-emptive run at the young seed.

If there was good news to be heard on this day, it was that the burger and brat barbecue was back for a second run. That harvest was easily as bountiful as the year before.

Last year, Suderman said he was hoping for a turnout of close to 100 producers for the premiere event. But that number fell a bit short, thanks in part to a 1.5-inch rain the day before.

It?s been a different year, indeed.

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