By MIKE CORN
It's been two months since the U.S. Department of Agriculture released estimates on the size of the state's corn, sorghum and soybean crops, and they're expected to be slightly smaller than first thought. But not by much. Friday's estimates by Kansas Agricultural Statistics, a branch of the USDA, put the state's corn harvest at 520 million bushels, up 141 million bushels from a year ago. Average yields as of Nov. 1 are forecast at 130 bushels per acre. That's 34 bushels an acre more than a year ago. In the west-central crop reporting district, the corn harvest will be nearly twice what it was a year ago. In the central district, which includes Ellis County, corn production is forecast to be 164 percent of last year's harvest. October yield estimates weren't put together because of the government shutdown that canceled October's crop report, sending shockwaves through the markets. Nationally, corn production is expected to be a record 14 billion bushels. Kansas grain sorghum production is estimated at 187 million bushels. While that's a slight decline from the September estimate, it's still more than double the almost 82 million bushels harvested last year. Average yield is estimated at 68 bushels per acre. Soybean production is expected to total 123.9 million bushels, sharply higher than a year ago. Yields are forecast at 35 bushels per acre.