Wichita — Kansas farmers are expected to harvest the biggest corn crop in the state’s history this year.
The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service on Thursday forecast corn production in Kansas at 629.2 million bushels. That would surpass last year’s record crop of 598.3 million bushels.
Kansas growers planted 4.7 million acres in corn this year, the highest planted acreage for corn in the state since 1936.
Kansas is expected to produce by far more bushels of corn this season than wheat. The 2010 wheat crop is pegged at 369 million bushels, down less than 1 percent from last year. The wheat crop was grown on 8.2 million acres, down 600,000 acres from a year ago.
Driving the increase in corn acres this season was an unusually wet fall in 2009, when winter wheat is planted, that kept many farmers out of the fields, said Jason Lamprecht, deputy director at the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service.
“Not as many acres got planted, so when came spring time and they didn’t have wheat in the ground ... they had to find something else to do,” Lamprecht said. “We had more acres of soybeans than corn because of that also.”
Soybean production is forecast at 153.9 million bushels. That is down 4 percent from last year, but would be the second highest production if realized. Kansas farmers planted a record 4.10 million acres with soybeans.
Sorghum production in Kansas was forecast at 184.5 million bushels, down 18 percent from the previous season.
Alfalfa hay production forecast at 3.44 million tons is down 6 percent from the 2009 crop.
The forecast released Thursday is based on crop conditions on Aug. 1.
Kansas has had a stretch of triple-digit temperatures with little, if any rain, since then. The impact of that weather on crop conditions will not be reflected until the agency releases its updated forecast in September.