It all depended on the right cloud.
This autumn’s harvest is beginning to wind down across the state, and Kansas farmers are reporting a mixture of yields depending on the location and whether their field caught any rain.
“It just depends on if you were under the right cloud or not,” said Inman farmer Adam Baldwin. “If you weren’t, it could be a struggle.”
For many Kansas farmers, fall is one of the busiest times of year – filled with weeks of harvesting crops, including corn, milo and soybeans. Some producers have fields of cotton that are awaiting a cotton stripper.
And on a recent afternoon, Baldwin was busy working to get his wheat crop in the ground while his father, Dwight, cut milo.
More than half of the state’s fall crops had been harvested as of Oct. 23, according to the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. And with a dry week, farmers were able to get much more done in the field.
For some farmers, hot temperatures and dry conditions during crop maturity hindered yields.
Still, some farmers caught a favorable rain, with about half of the fall crops experiencing above-average yields, the statistics service reported. Half of the soybeans are in good to excellent condition. Also, about 60 percent of the milo and cotton crop had the same rating.
Stacey Krehbiel, a Pretty Prairie farmer who grows milo and hay as well as custom cuts in the region, said he saw a range of yields.
“It wasn’t a record-breaker by any means,” he said, adding it depended on if you got rain.
Baldwin said his family’s irrigated corn did “pretty good and the irrigated soybeans were some of the best we ever raised.
“Soybeans, in general, will carry the farm this year,” he said of yields and better prices.
Dryland corn, however, was a mixed bag, suffering some from the dry late summer. Baldwin said he saw a yield spread of around 50 bushels an acre.
“There was definitely more potential out there if we had a rain or two in August,” he said. “But that is the way it turned out.”
However, as the harvest comes to a close, the family still had a few hundred acres of milo to cut last week. That crop had more promise than some of the others of autumn. Some of the fields in an area near Groveland had more rain – helping boost yields. Also, at the MKC terminal at Canton, milo has a strong basis. The price of the commodity was over the price of corn Friday.
Farmers in the region also received a break from the sugarcane aphid, which did extensive damage in 2016, said Baldwin.
“I think we are going to have a really good milo crop,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about it, but we are in an area that got rain that others missed.”