As corn, milo and soybeans stand in the fields, farmers are waiting for the ground to either dry up or freeze so they can wrap up the Douglas County harvest.
Garry Keeler, agriculture agent for the Douglas County Extension Office, said the recent rain and snow resulted in muddy fields and put a halt to the harvest.
"It's just been too muddy," he said. "It's not cold enough to freeze the ground, but it's not warm enough to dry it up. If we hadn't had this long wet spell, we'd have it done. When you can't get the combines through the field, you just have to wait."
Keeler said about 5 percent of the county's crop acres mainly corn remains to be harvested. Farmers cut soybeans and milo first because corn can better withstand the elements, he said.
It's unusual for the local harvest to extend this late into the year, but Keeler said Douglas County farmers feel fortunate compared with those in western Kansas, where the harvest was interrupted by a blizzard last month.
THE CORN that was harvested easily met the expectations of an excellent crop, said Keeler. Steady rain in July helped the corn grow tall and produce more grain than usual.
"It was quite a bit better than average," he said.
Larry Canion, a commodities statistician with Kansas Agriculture Statistics, said the state's corn crop broke a yield record on Nov. 1, when the average yield reported by farmers reached 80 bushels per acre. The previous record was 75 bushels per acre in 1986-87.
However, he said the high yield might not compensate for the crops lost to the harvest delay.
"An excellent crop in the field is not an excellent crop in the bin," he said. "We might be looking at some light test weights and higher moisture contents, but we're still encouraging county agents to tell farmers they need to get that crop in."
CANION said the harvest was almost 35 percent behind schedule across the state. At this time of the year, farmers typically have harvested 98 percent of the crop. In several areas of Kansas, more than 40 percent remains unharvested, he said.
Don Churchbaugh, who farms near Baldwin, said he's harvested all but about an acre of corn.
"I could've got to it about three weeks ago, but I listened to the weather man and he said it was going to be nice the next day, so I waited," he said.
His trucks were full of grain, and rather than borrow a neighbor's truck, he opted to cut the last acre the next day. The forecast proved wrong and now the mud keeps him out of the field.
"I could get to it if it would freeze," Churchbaugh said.