Harvest is wrapping up in southwest Kansas, much earlier than last year. Producers and area co-op officials are attributing earlier harvest completion to a hot, dry summer and early fall, which helped dry corn at a faster rate than in past years. Most are reporting being more than 90 percent done with harvest, and expect to finish by the weekend.
Ken Jameson, Garden City Co-op, said that in Finney County, co-op officials are taking a record crop this year.
"For ourselves, it's a record crop as far as bushels received," he said.
Jameson reported the co-op would be taking 13 million bushels by harvest completion, which will be this weekend or early next week. Last year, the co-op took just more than 12 million, he said. He said acreage planted was up, and yield-wise, it was an average crop. He reported the average test weight at 59.43 pounds per bushel, with 15.68 percent moisture.
Jameson said that although harvest will finish earlier than usual, it's been a long harvest.
"We've been dumping corn since Aug. 19. The weather we had just dried it down quickly," he said.
In Grant County at United Prairie Ag, Warren Devore reported Wednesday afternoon that harvest is 90 percent complete. He said he's seen average yields and a good quality crop, but a drier crop.
Devore said some producers have been a little disappointed with yields. He didn't have any examples or numbers for yields. He said he expects corn harvest to wrap up by the end of the week, which is earlier than last year's harvest that went on into November.
Devore said weather caused the early harvest.
"The crops had good weather to mature on. Last year we had a lot of wetter, cooler weather that didn't push the crop along. This year, it was hot and dry, and the corn matured out like it was supposed to," he said.
Jason Edwards, of United Prairie Ag in Stevens County, said because of the hot, dry weather, co-op officials have had minor problems with the corn breaking. Edwards said moisture levels are dry, coming in at 15.8 percent.
"When it's that dry, it shatters more easily," he said.
Edwards said the quality of the crop has been excellent, and at the Moscow location, co-op officials have taken 5 to 10 percent more corn than last year. He reported test weights at 58 to 60 pounds per bushel, and expects harvest to finish this weekend.
Sherry Walford, administrative assistant at Providence Grain in Haskell County, said harvest there is winding down, except for the later-planted crops. She said corn harvest is 92 to 95 percent done.
"It was nice — one of the easiest harvests I've ever worked," she said. Walford has worked in the grain industry for more than 15 years in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Walford reported test weights at 58 to 63 pounds per bushel, and said just 20 percent of the crop came in at moisture levels greater than 15.5 percent.
In Wichita County, at ADM Grain, Greg Fletcher said producers and co-op officials had seen a good crop, but not a great crop. He reported harvest being 95 percent complete and expects most in the area to finish by the end of the month.
Gary Friesen, Scott Co-op Association, said he characterized this year's crop as "a very good corn crop." He said although expectations may have been higher than what was produced, it was still a satisfactory crop.
Friesen said the quality of the crop was excellent, with test weights at 57 to 59 pounds per bushel and moisture levels less than 15 percent.
The U.S. crop is now projected to be the third largest crop in history, with a projected surplus of about 1 billion bushels. Dry weather has allowed Kansas farmers to harvest 89 percent of the state's corn crop, well above the five-year average of 67 percent for this time of year, according to Monday's Crop Progress report by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. At this time last year, the Kansas corn crop was only 43 percent harvested. The 2009 harvest was hampered by wet weather. Last year, Kansas farmers didn't have 89 percent of the crop harvested until Nov. 30, according to KASS.