This summer has been the fifth wettest summer in the past 150 years, according to daily precipitation measurements recorded by the K-State Agricultural Research Center — Hays for the National Weather Service.
That means good yields for crops now in the field around the area, said Bob Gillen, department head for the research center.
“We expect to have some really nice crops,” Gillen said. “The outlook is very, very good here for yields because of that rainfall.”
From May 1 through Friday, the station measured 25 inches of rainfall. That’s 10 inches more than the average for that time period, which is 15 inches, he said.
The research center has about 400 to 500 acres of grain sorghum in the ground.
In this area of western Kansas, grain sorghum will probably be the last crop harvested this fall, led by milo, corn and soybeans, he said.
“The corn is getting there, especially the dryland corn,” said Gillen, who also travels to K-State’s Goodland and Colby research stations. “Based on the reports I’ve seen we’re going to be a little ahead of the average year. That’s mostly due to warmer temperatures in June and July. All the crops are advanced at least a little ahead of average.”
Midland Marketing Co-op Inc. hasn’t had any milo into its Hays elevator yet, said Jerome Marintzer, who runs the feed mill, but has seen some corn.
“A guy brought in some corn samples and they were way too wet,” Marintzer said. The moisture tested 22 and 24, which is far above the desired 15.5 percent or lower. “It’s going to be a week or two before corn picking. A lot of the fields are just too green. It’s a little bit early yet.”
The Co-op’s 11 elevators — Hays, Yocemento, Toulon, Plainville, LaCrosse, Brownell, Palco, Natoma, Hargrave, McCracken and Zurich — total 10 million bushels capacity. One producer told Midland’s grain merchandiser Bill Burton that most of his milo won’t be ready til after the first frost.
“Frost stops it growing, then it dries down,” Burton said. “It will be a couple weeks for the milo before we start seeing very much.”
Employees at the Russell elevator of Great Bend Co-op have been getting ready for harvest by cleaning out their two elevators, said Garrett Berry, branch manager.
“We’re getting all the wheat and milo out and shipping it all to White Energy, the ethanol plant,” Berry said. “We’re going to try to have everything empty.”
The only exception is a little remaining wheat, which wasn’t sold before the market went downhill, he said.
“I had a couple corn samples come in yesterday,” Berry said. “It will probably be another week.” Usually corn is first, then beans, and then milo.
“This year they could all come in at once,” he said. “It’s been kind of goofy.”
The Co-op’s 10 elevators — Russell, Dorrance, Albert, Radium, Seward, Ellinwood, Great Bend, Pawnee Rock, Boyd and Susank — can store more than eight million bushels.
Russell’s two elevators are prepared to hold 530,000 bushels, and another 300,000 will fill quonset storage.
“We’ll put one and a half million bushels of milo on the ground this year,” Berry said. “Right now the milo market is not very good. We’re going to have to dump it on the ground and hope the market comes back after harvest.”