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Corn crop expected to be lowest since '06

9/13/2012

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Crop forecasters whittled away at the anticipated size of the state's corn crop, but reduced production estimates by only 2 percent from what was forecast a month ago.

Currently, the forecast for corn is set at 382.2 million bushels.

That's down 15 percent from a year ago and is expected to be the smallest crop since 2006, according to Kansas Agricultural Statistics.

KAS left unchanged the forecast for sorghum for grain, remaining at 88 million bushels.

That's still sharply lower than last year's 110-million bushel harvest, and would be the lowest since 1956.

Near Ogallah and Logan, however, farmers are harvesting sorghum crops early, either cutting it for bales or putting it up as silage.

Farmers have voiced skepticism about the accuracy of the forecasts since August, suggesting that report was sharply higher than it should be. There's been little improvement in crop conditions since then, even with rains in recent weeks.

Crop forecasters made the biggest drop in the size of the state's soybean crop, reducing it by 5 percent from the Aug. 1 report. Now estimated at 70.4 million bushels, it would be the smallest soybean crop since 2003.

Forecasters still are calling for corn yields of nearly 75 bushels per acre on average in the northwest crop reporting district, down 4 bushels from the August report.

On Monday, Francis Moore was cutting 20-bushel corn south of Oberlin.

Farmers haven't started harvesting irrigated corn fields yet, cutting the worst crops first, typically dryland fields.

Overall, the eight-county northwest Kansas crop reporting district is expected to produce 58 million bushels of corn, approximately two-thirds the size of last year's crop.

The west-central district is slightly better, expected to produce approximately 82 percent of last year's crop. The north-central district also is expected to be nearly two-thirds the size of last year's crop.

The central district, with Ellis, Rush and Russell counties on its western borders, is supposed to have a slightly larger crop than was produced last year.