Hurricane Isaac left a wake of destruction across the South, but it may have saved Douglas County’s soybean crop.
The leftovers of the storm and the cool, wet weather cycle that followed have some area farmers dusting off the combine instead of the mower.
“If we’d have had a few more weeks of hot, dry weather, a lot of the beans would have been baled,” said Matthew Vajnar, Ottawa Co-op grain merchandiser. “We were looking at a potential disaster mid-August.”
Vajnar thought area soybeans would now yield 10 to 15 bushels per acre. It’s far below an average crop, which would make 30 to 35 bushels per acre, but after this summer, area farmers will take it.
“At one time we were talking about mowing our beans off, ” said farmer Jim Neis, who now expects to make about 10 to 15 bushels per acre on the 1,800 acres of soybeans he has planted. “It (the rain) will help the bean crop. Too bad it didn’t come through a month or two earlier, though.”
While the storms have brought precipitation — Neis’ farm two miles south of Eudora received 2.5 inches — they haven’t made much of a dent in the ongoing drought.
According to the National Weather Service the city of Lawrence has received 17.93 inches of rain for 2012, still 12 inches below average.
The drought ensured a poor corn crop, which averaged 40 bushels per acre, with more than 20 percent of the crop abandoned, according to Vajnar. In Kansas, corn yielded an average of 91 bushels per acre, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service, down 15 percent from 2011, another dry and hot year.
The service forecasts that Kansas will produce 31 percent fewer soybeans than in 2011.
While the last two dry years have made life tough for farmers, Neis thinks he is due to catch a break sometime.
“We’re hoping next year will be our year,” he said.