Angie Haflich - Special to The News
GARDEN CITY - While Mother Nature provided some much-needed moisture this summer, which helped the upcoming crop of irrigated corn, things haven't fared so well for dry land corn this year.
John Holman, cropping systems agronomist with Kansas State University Southwest Research Extension Center, said the irrigated corn harvest looks to be better than it has been in the past two years, The Garden City Telegram reported. "I would say that 50 to 60 percent of the irrigated corn is in good condition, and maybe 30 percent is in good to excellent condition, so 20 percent is in that fair to good range," Holman said. "I'd say the last two years, the majority of both irrigated and dry land has both been poor to very poor." Holman said, depending on the variety, maturity and when it was planted, a small percentage of this year's irrigated corn was classified as being in poor to very poor condition. "If the corn happened to be tasseling when it was hot, those fields were hurt by the heat. There are some fields like that, but I'd say those fields are the exception, not the majority," he said. Holman said milder temperatures and the rainfall received in August helped alleviate some of the strain put on irrigation systems. "The rain came in a two-week window at just the right time," he said. Mike Deaver, who farms near Plymell, said they have only received about eight inches of rain fall for the whole year, but he does anticipate a better crop of irrigated corn this year. "It's going to be better than last year just because we didn't have the extreme 100-degree temperatures, so it pollinated better," Deaver said. Jarvis Garetson, who farms near Copeland, said he expects to see as good a crop or better than last year's. "I am hoping to be better than last year's, but if it's the same as last year's, I will be really happy," Garetson said. "We've got some fields that look just really exceptional. The August rains helped finish it out strong, and then we have some fields that will be pretty short. Some of it was hail, wind issues early in the season, and some of it's lack of water as the Ogallala continues its decline." He said the condition of the fields will translate into varying yields this year. "On a bushel per acre, I think we'll see higher yields than last year. Some will be right on par, and then we have a couple of circles - one circle is a disaster. We had to abandon it because of the way the water declined," Garetson said. "The proof is in the pudding when the combine gets out there." He anticipates the average yield to be 200 to 210 bushels an acre. "I think we'll see a high in the 250-bushel-per-acre range and a low - other than the one we abandoned - a low of 160 bushel per acre," he said, adding that he expects to begin harvesting corn around the last week of September. Holman said that the majority of corn in the area is currently in dent stage, so for many, harvest won't begin for about a month. Holman said that dry land crop didn't fare nearly as well as irrigated. "Dry land corn, there's going to be some fields, and it gets better as you go east, but dry land corn is pretty poor," he said. "I'd say 75 percent of that crop is poor to very poor." According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the state's corn crop condition rated 39 percent good to excellent, as of Tuesday. Overall, the state's corn crop was rated 7 percent excellent, 32 percent good, 31 percent fair, 17 percent poor and 13 percent very poor. Also according to the NASS, the state's sorghum condition rated 7 percent excellent, 43 percent good, 32 percent fair, 13 percent poor and 5 percent very poor. Holman said the outlook for the sorghum harvest in Finney County and other parts of southwest Kansas is good. "We're going to have exceptional sorghum yield," he said. "Sixty to 70 percent of the sorghum crop is good to excellent."