Douglas County's wheat crop came in about average for 1990 and its fall crops also are looking about average, a local agriculture official says.
Brian Morray, director of the Douglas County Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, said today that although final wheat crop figures have not yet been compiled, the local wheat crop was nothing to sing about.
Morray said he based his comments on discussions he has had with area farmers.
"Most of the people I've talked to don't really have anything to brag about," he said. "It was normal. It was just another wheat crop."
Morray and most area farmers blame the ho-hum crop on excessive moisture during the wheat plants' crucial development stages. Wheat, Morray said, is a dry-weather crop that needs heat and wind to dry the plant and prepare it for harvest. Excessive rains, however, keep the plant and its seed moist, which slows the maturity process and prevents farmers from harvesting.
"IF IT IS too wet, wheat just can't perform the way it is supposed to," he said.
Morray said that based on what area farmers have reported to him, the county's average wheat yield probably will fall around the 30-bushel per acre mark. The normal county yield is 35 bushels per acre. Morray also said that farmers have reported test weights mostly in the mid-50-pounds per bushel range. The target weight for wheat is 60 pounds per bushel.
Neil Gum of the Kansas Agriculture Statistics office in Topeka, said this morning that his agency has not yet received information needed to compile wheat crop averages by county. The agency typically does not receive the information until November. The information then is compiled into a county-by-county report that usually is issued in late November, Gum said.
HOWEVER, based on preliminary reports, Gum said the 15-county East-Central Agricultural Region that includes Douglas County should see an average yield of 33 bushels per acre, compared to 31 bushels per acre last year.
Although the local wheat was short of spectacular, the county's soybean, corn and milo crops are looking pretty good, Morray said.
He said recent rains and cool weather have relieved the stress placed on the plants by the extreme heat of a couple of weeks ago. With less stress and cooler weather, the county's corn plants will be better able to pollinate and fill their ears with kernels, he said.
Morray said that early July's extremely hot and dry weather probably damaged a portion of the county's corn crop, but added that producers would not know to what extent the damaged occurred until crops were harvested.
MORRAY SAID corn plants need a lot of water to develop properly. The crop typically is harvested in mid-September through late October.
The county's soybeans also appear to be in good shape, although they are about a month behind in development, Morray said. The delay was caused by rains in late June and early July that slowed area planting.
However, Morray said many area farmers have tried to overcome the delay by planting a variety of soybeans that mature quicker and have a shorter growth cycle which hopefully will make them ready for harvest quicker.
Milo crops in the county also look healthy and appear to be on schedule because of recent rains and cool weather, he said. Milo generally is harvested about the same time as soybeans, Morray said.