• Last modified 701 days ago (Sept. 10, 2020)


Early corn looks promising, soybeans stunted

Staff writer

Hot, dry weather still is ripening the county’s corn, but area farmers are hoping for rain that would salvage their threatened soybeans.

Mother Nature appears to be splitting the difference between crops, as too much or too little moisture, at the right time, determines yields.

Much of the corn is still not ready for harvest, but this year’s looks good enough to top last year’s, longtime corn farmer Terry Vinduska said.

“It is a better corn crop than last year,” said Vinduska, who represents the Kansas Corn Commission on the U.S. Grains Council. “I think it could be a record year.”

Mid-summer rains drenched the plants with “exceptional” moisture which helped the plants mature. U.S. climate reports average rainfall of 3.9 and 4.12 inches for the months of July and August.

“We typically do not get that,” he said. “The last three weeks of July and August are usually very dry with no moisture.”

The state’s corn crop was rated 29% fair, 41% good, and 15% in excellent condition after a field check, according to the National Agricultural Statistical Service.

Those conditions have the agency bullish on yield with production forecasts of a record 822 million bushels for the state, up 3% from last year. Yield is forecast at 143 bushels per acre, up 10 bushels from last year. Statistics were not broken down by county.

Farmers have begun chopping some silage corn days ago, but Vinduska said he hasn’t because the crop is still “a bit wet.”

He planned to cut some this week if the ground was dry enough.

Marion farmer Todd Krispense cut a small amount of his silage corn Friday, from a tract he owns east of Pawnee with his sons Kordell, 19, and Konrad, 23.

“For the most part it’s an adequate corn crop,” he said. “It was stressed some early, but I think it’s going to be a decent crop.”

The Krispenses grow dryland corn as feed for their own cattle and for sale. They planned to dry the crop in their own bins.

“We have fans in our bins at home,” Konrad said. “It’s still pretty wet, but by harvesting it a bit at a time, we can dry it out pretty quickly.”

Most of the crop still needed more time, he said.

It’s still early in the season say how corn will fare, Marion Cooperative Grain and Supply manager, John Ottensmeier said.

“It’s just not mature yet,” he said, adding he would know more about the corn crop when he was able to test yields.

However, the soybean crop already is showing damage from late-season drought, Ottensmeier said.

“The soybeans were looking really good to start with, but in August the rains just diminished,” he said. “You have to have some rains to help fill the beans in the pod.”

There are pods on the plant, but the beans in the pod are probably pretty small, he said.

The heat and lack of moisture have left the plants vulnerable to numerous pests including bean leaf beetles and pod worms, Krispense said.

“When there isn’t any moisture the plant isn’t as vigorous,” he said. “The plant can defend itself if it’s not stressed by drought or too much heat.”

Insect damage has been a problem for the crop, Vinduska agreed.

Pod worms were bad but insects also fed on the leaves of the plant, prompting some to farmers to cut their losses.

“Around the Inman area some were swathing the beans early last week,” he said. “They are already giving up on making a crop.”

He welcomed forecasts that placed the chance of rain at 50% or more most of this week.

Storms would delay the corn harvest, but Vinduska was fine with that.

“Rain could not hurt the corn at this point it, but it sure could help the beans a lot,” he said.

Last modified Sept. 10, 2020