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Where Are We Now?
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The area is finally starting to harvest summer grain crops (corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum) and fall planting of rye and wheat is starting. As of this Sunday, where are we?
* Some wheat in northern Stafford County is up and looks good. Overall, soil moisture conditions in most of the area are decent. Rains over the last week and hopefully from Friday night/Saturday morning have helped provide moisture lost with the unseasonably warm, windy conditions that hit in September and cause evaporative loss of surface soil moisture. Tillage from seedbed preparation further depleted moisture. On the plus side the rains of late July and early August provided recharge for subsoil moisture. Another positive was the ability to control volunteer wheat much earlier than normal. One final bit of help is the temperature forecast which is trending toward normal temperatures. The biggest problem is for those producers wanting to plant wheat after summer crop harvest as corn harvest is much later than normal.
* Corn harvest is normally well on the downside by now but this year is just gathering steam. This presents challenges as some producers need to plant wheat and harvest corn, soybeans and even sorghum at the same time. However, corn yields and test weights appear good to excellent for both dryland and irrigated acres. Gain moistures reported so far are perhaps a little higher than typical but not excessive.
* Soybeans, even dryland, overall are about on their typical schedule and look to be an average to above average crop depending on your location. Dryland yields appear significantly higher than last year.
* Although little has been harvest yet, grain sorghum yields look to be excellent this year. Some dryland fields appear to have a yield potential of 80 to 100 bushels per acre. There was concern earlier with the cool conditions and late flowering that sorghum yields might be dinged by an early frost. Grain sorghum was the one crop the greatly benefitted from the unseasonably warm September conditions.
Overall, compared to the last two years, the area looks to have an average to above average summer crops harvest and decent conditions to establish fall-planted crops. For the state as a whole, probably the best news is the moisture mush of Western Kansas has received the last several weeks. This will be the first time in several years producers out west actually have soil moisture to plant into.