Harvest in full swing
By Ali Holcomb
Jackson County farmers are finishing up this year’s fall harvest, and yields for both corn and soybeans are said to be average or above, according to David Hallauer, Meadowlark Extension District crops and soils specialist.
“We’re seeing very good yields with corn. There’s no doubt about that,” Hallauer said. “Some areas of the county have received more moisture than others, however, all farmers have been pretty happy.”
Cooler temperatures and rains have prevailed this spring and summer, helping this year’s crop to flourish.
“The southern part of the county didn’t get as much rain, but there have been some instances where farmers have started their harvest with lower expectations and have been pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We received just enough moistures at the critical stages.”
While yields vary from farm to farm, Hallauer said that farmers in upland areas are reporting 25 to 50 percent more bushels per acre than average.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, 96 percent of the corn in Kansas was mature for the week ending Oct. 19, which is near last year’s 97 percent.
A total of 66 percent of Kansas corn had been harvested by last week, which is a little behind the 75 percent average, it was reported.
Total production of corn in Kansas is expected to top 592 million bushels, which is 17 percent higher than last year.
Although the acres planted to corn was down this year, according to the USDA, yields are higher. Farmers are expected to see an average of 160 bushels an acre, which would be a record and up 33 bushels per acre from 2013.
Compared to corn, the soybean harvest in Jackson County has been average, Hallauer said.
“Yields haven’t been as surprising,” he said. “Consistency isn’t a bad thing though.”
In 2013, county farmers planed 43,500 acres of soybeans and harvested 43,100 acres, according to the USDA, with an average of 43.6 bushels per acre. This year’s harvest is expected to be similar.
Some crops, located in the eastern portion of the Jackson County, did receive some hail damage just before harvest, Hallauer said. Some crop disease was also noted.
“There has been some levels of disease in some fairly localized spots in the county,” he said. “It really isn’t widespread.”
A few soybean growers are experiencing Green Stem Syndrome this harvest, which results in uneven drying among the soybean plant. The stems remain green even though the seeds are dry.
“Usually the plant is dry enough to go ahead and harvest, otherwise farmers can wait for a hard freeze,” he said.
For more information on Green Stem Syndrome, see Hallauer’s weekly column on page 8B of this issue of The Holton Recorder.
According to the USDA, Kansas’ soybean production is forecast at 148 million bushels, which would be a 13 percent increase over 2013. The acres to be harvested also were up 13 percent.
The soybean harvest is a little behind schedule in Kansas, overall, compared to last year, the USDA noted.
Hallauer expected that local farmers could complete their harvests in the next 10 days if the weather permits.
Locally, corn is selling for $2.76 a bushel, and the price of soybeans is $8.75 a bushel at Jackson Farmers, Inc.