Kansas: Earliest Start to Corn Harvest in State’s History
Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending July 29, 2012.
Agricultural Summary: A few Kansas producers received much-needed precipitation, but the State’s moisture supplies still suffered from daily record heat last week. Salina and Alton were the only stations to receive over an inch of rain at 1.46 inches and 1.42 inches, respectively, while Belleville received 0.92 inches. These were the only three stations to receive above normal rain last week. Six more stations received over one-half inch of rain, while thirteen received none. As of Sunday, 21 stations had received less than ten inches of rain for the entire year.
Heat records were either tied or broken every day last week as weekly highs ranged from 101 degrees in Johnson to 110 degrees in Hays. All stations saw above normal temperatures with Hill City the hottest at 11 degrees above normal. Average weekly temperatures even crept into the 90’s in Wichita and Winfield. Only the North Central District averaged less than 6 days suitable for fieldwork as the Statewide average was 6.7 days suitable.
Topsoil moisture supplies continued to decline to 69 percent very short, 27 percent short, 4 percent adequate, and none as surplus. With 96 percent in the very short to short categories, this is the lowest July rating for topsoil moisture supplies since the program began in 1985 and the lowest overall rating since August 24, 2003. Kansas subsoil moisture supplies also declined to 64 percent very short, 32 percent short, 4 percent adequate and none as surplus. Row crops continued to be stressed with the heat and wind.
Field Crop Report: Two percent of the corn acreage had already been harvested for grain by Sunday, mostly in the Southeast District, for the earliest start to the corn harvest in Kansas history. Ninety-one percent of the corn was in the silking stage by Sunday, ahead of 84 percent last year but slightly behind 92 percent for the 5-year average. Fifty-nine percent of the crop was in the dough stage, ahead of 34 percent last year and 35 percent for the 5-year average. All districts reported corn in the dent stage with the State averaging 34 percent by Sunday. This is well ahead of last year at 5 percent and the 5-year average of 4 percent. Only the Northwest and West Central Districts have no mature corn while the Southeast District reported nearly half their corn as mature. The State’s average was 12 percent mature which is well ahead of normal, as well. The condition of the corn crop declined to 34 percent very poor, 32 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 9 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
Sixty-nine percent of the soybean crop was in the blooming stage by Sunday, slightly ahead of last year at 61 percent and the 5-year average of 68 percent. Nineteen percent of the soybean acreage was setting pods last week, ahead of 11 percent last year but behind 24 percent for the 5-year average. The condition of the crop declined to 25 percent very poor, 34 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 7 percent good, and none rated as excellent.
Sorghum continued to progress ahead of average with 35 percent of the crop headed by Sunday, ahead of 11 percent last year and 19 percent for the 5-year average. While the Southeast district had a third of their sorghum in the coloring stage and the Northwest and West Central Districts had none, the State average was 5 percent in the coloring stage last week, ahead of 1 percent for the 5-year average. The condition of the sorghum crop declined to 24 percent very poor, 32 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 8 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. The cotton crop was 86 percent squaring by Sunday, compared to 85 percent last year and 92 percent for the 5-year average. Forty-four percent of was setting bolls, ahead of 21 percent last year and the 5-year average of 24 percent. The condition of the cotton crop declined to 4 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 50 percent fair, 22 percent good, and 6 percent excellent.
The sunflower crop was 96 percent emerged, compared to 99 percent for both the previous year and the 5-year average. Thirty-one percent of the acreage was blooming by Sunday, ahead of last year at 25 percent and 26 percent for the 5-year average, while two percent had ray flowers dried last week. The condition of the sunflower crop declined slightly to 13 percent very poor, 25 percent poor, 49 percent fair, 12 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. The third cutting of alfalfa was 72 percent complete, well ahead of last year at 46 percent and the 5-year average of 43 percent. Four percent of the alfalfa acreage had already received a fourth cutting last week.
Feed Supplies Report: With 55 percent in the very poor category, range and pasture conditions are the worst since pasture ratings began in 1995. The range and pasture conditions were rated at 55 percent very poor, 33 percent poor, 11 percent fair, and only 1 percent good. Hay and forage supplies declined to 33 percent very short, 39 percent short, and 28 percent adequate while stock water supplies declined to 34 percent very short, 31 percent short, and 35 percent adequate. Many producers were selling calves earlier than preferred and culling their herds as pasture conditions worsened. Many are also grazing or haying Conservation Reserve Program acreage across most of the State.
It’s a dilemma many farmers worry about: How do you protect the viability of your farm operation when one of your partners dies? Diversified grain and vegetable farmer Rick Fruth