Mark Milleret started cutting corn this week — to see if it was dry enough for him to cut more. The verdict? Still a week or two away.
"It's a late harvest for me and everybody," said Milleret, who farms east of Lawrence. "Normally I would be running full tilt right now, but that grain is still high in moisture. Most people are still sitting here waiting."
Because of the delayed start to the planting season and the recent rain, the local corn harvest will begin later than normal this year, as much of Douglas County's nearly 30,000 acres of corn still has some drying-out to do. Area co-ops, such as Baldwin Feed Co. Inc. of Baldwin City, have gotten some samples in but nothing dry enough to take.
Many corn farmers don't expect to get the crop out of the ground now until October, a few weeks later than they usually begin combining in earnest. Across the state, only 16 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, compared to 62 percent at the same time last year.
"It could be a week to 10 days yet before harvest, with this cool and wet weather," said Bill Wood, director for Douglas County Extension. "It sounds like we're going to be cool for a while, so that will slow down how fast the crop matures and is harvested."
But Wood added that this weather is preferable this time of year — for corn and soybean farmers alike — to the multiple 100-degree days the area had earlier this month.
Farmers with Nunemaker-Ross Inc. northeast of Lawrence have been cutting some high-moisture corn this week for cattle feed but are letting the rest of it dry out more.
"We're waiting on a little bit more sunshine," said Mary Ross. "If the sun will come out, a lot of it will be ready in the next few days."
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that statewide winter wheat planting in Kansas was 13 percent complete, about even with the 15 percent average for this time of year.
The service said corn conditions statewide are rated as 29 percent poor to very poor, 32 percent fair, 31 percent good and 8 percent excellent. Just 1 percent of the sorghum and soybean crops have been harvested so far.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.