Fall harvests are drawing to a close in Kansas, and while truckloads of corn and soybeans taken to area elevators are in good condition, agricultural experts said, prices are dishearteningly low.
"They've been pretty poor," Douglas County agricultural extension agent Bill Wood said. "I don't think anybody is smiling at the prices yet."
The price of soybeans was around $5.20 per bushel, area elevator operators said Thursday. Corn prices were even lower, around $1.56 per bushel.
"It's too bad soybeans can't be $6.50 or $7 (per bushel); that's what farmers really need," said Calvin Pearson, assistant manager at the Ottawa Co-op elevator in Lawrence.
Most of the corn and soybean crops have been harvested, Wood and other extension agents said.
"If we could keep it from raining for another week we could probably get all our corn out and most of the soybeans as well," Wood said. "Most of our soils are in pretty good shape so we really don't need rain."
In the east-central region of the state, which includes Douglas County, average soybean quantities have been averaging 32 bushels per acre, said Eldon Thiessen, director of the Kansas Agricultural Statistics office.
In Douglas County soybean and corn fields have had spotty and varied results, Wood said.
"One guy had a yield monitor on his combine and it went from 18 bushels (of corn) to 180 in the same field, depending on where he was," Wood said. "That's quite a range."
Despite heavy rains earlier this month in Jefferson County, soybean quantities were above average, extension agent Dave Hallauer said. The crop has averaged 40 to 50 bushels per acre, he said.
In early October, parts of Jefferson County received up to a foot of rain and there was massive flooding. Some farm equipment was flooded and had to be dried out and repaired, Hallauer said.
"A lot of those areas that had water over the top and debris on the field, guys are kind of waiting to get to those areas," he said. "I think they are trying to get the good crops out first."
In Franklin County soybeans were averaging 30 to 40 bushels per acre, Ottawa Co-op grain manager Matthew Vajnar said.
As of Oct. 12, northeast Kansas had the highest soybean averages at 43 bushels per acre while north-central and south-central areas of Kansas were averaging 39, Thiessen said.
Last year was Kansas' best-ever soybean harvest, with the state average at 41 bushels per acre and 111.11 million bushels harvested, Thiessen said. On Oct. 1, 100.8 million bushels of soybeans had been harvested, but Thiessen said he didn't expect this year's total to match last year's because of the effects of heavy rain and frosts earlier in the spring.