Turon Kansas’ title of wheat state is in for a challenge.
Farmers are expected to harvest the biggest corn crop ever with 692.2 million bushels, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. Moreover, some of the state’s elevators could bin more corn than the state’s staple crop of wheat this year.
At Haw Ranch Feedlot near Turon, employees began cutting the feedlot’s corn for silage the middle of last week — about two weeks earlier than usual, said manager Mike Holley. The silage was drier than he would have liked — running at 62 percent moisture, about 10 percent lower than he would like.
“The heat has advanced everything,” he said.
The Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also reported last week that fall crop conditions continue to decline because of the heat and lack of moisture. The corn crop, 15 percent ahead of the five-year average, is rated as 9 percent poor, 28 percent fair and 63 percent good to excellent by the KASS. About 60 percent of the soybeans and milo are estimated at good to excellent.
“There are some areas where the corn is burning up and the grain sorghum is showing signs of intense heat stress,” said Kent Martin, a southwest Kansas agronomist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. “What hurt us the worst with a lot of these crops, when we were pollinating a lot of these crops it was in the 100-degree weather.”
The heat stress could mean lower test weights, he said.
The 2010 Kansas wheat crop is pegged at 369 million bushels. Farmers are expected to reap a record 692.2 million bushels of corn, which would surpass last year’s record crop of 598.3 million bushels, according to KASS.
With an extended fall harvest from an usually wet fall, and too wet of conditions to plant wheat, Kansas farmers planted 4.7 million acres in corn this spring, the highest planted acreage for corn in the state since 1936, the agency reports.
“We’ll take in quite a bit of corn this year — more than normal,” Schauf said. “And I’m not sure that isn’t going to continue with the new varieties of corn that are more drought-tolerant.”