Corn harvest estimate remains unchanged
By MIKE CORN
Buoyed by rising corn production in southwest and south-central Kansas, crop forecasters Thursday kept the expected size of the state's crop unchanged from a month earlier.
Corn farmers in west-central and central Kansas, however, are expected to harvest smaller crops, according to Kansas Agricultural Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Farmers in northwest Kansas are expected to do slightly better than was forecast a month ago, but this year's harvest will be approximately two-thirds of what was produced last year.
KAS released its harvest estimates Thursday. Nationally, the corn crop is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down sharply from last year.
The size of the Kansas grain sorghum crop was reduced slightly compared to a month ago, and now is forecast at 84 million bushels. It still would be the smallest crop since 1956, KAS reported.
Still, yields are being forecast at 40 bushels per acre.
Many milo fields in Ellis County, however, are being swathed, to be baled for livestock feed this winter. That's already been the case for much of the corn crop in Ellis County.
Yields for dryland corn have been minimal throughout much of northwest Kansas, with several reports of only about 20 bushels to the acre.
Average projected yields in northwest and north-central Kansas are expected to range from 75 to 80 bushels per acre, but that estimate would take irrigated corn into account.
Irrigated corn in the two districts last year outpaced dryland production even though it accounted for less than a third of the acres harvested.
Farmers in the central crop reporting district, which includes Ellis and Rush counties on its western border, are expected to see corn yields of 71 bushels per acre.
Irrigated fields in the central district produced three times the amount of corn last year even though it was grown on half as many acres as dryland.
Sorghum yields, however, in the central district will average 16 bushels per acre, only slightly better than last year.
Soybean production is forecast at 82.5 million bushels, up sharply from the September forecast of just 70.4 million bushels.
Sunflower production is expected to total 99.3 million pounds, down 34 percent from last year, most of that as a result of fewer acres being harvested.
Confectionery sunflowers account for approximately 17,000 acres to be harvested while oil-type sunflowers will be harvested on 70,000 acres.