Much-needed moisture in Kansas may have boosted the spirits of many in the agricultural industry, but it also presented challenges for those getting soybeans and milo out of the fields and winter wheat in the ground.
"I would have planted a little bit of wheat this year, but don't think I'm going to get any in," said Raylen Phelon, a fifth-generation farmer in Osage County.
In fact, he was in Topeka at a meeting at the Kansas Wheat Commission, and his son texted him that he was finally back in the fields cutting beans.
"He said it's muddy and sticky, but he's able to go," Phelon said, adding that he typically has soybeans harvested by Halloween.
Brad Parker, spokesman for the Kansas Soybean Commission, said a U.S. Department of Agriculture report this week put the Kansas soybean harvest at 74 percent completed. The five-year average this time of the year is typically 90 percent, he said.
The challenge, though, is that farmers who couldn't get their soybeans harvested face issues with their wheat planting, said Marsha Boswell, spokeswoman for the Kansas Wheat Commission.
"There are certain deadlines that farmers have to have their wheat in by to qualify for crop insurance and keep that coverage," she said. "We are essentially past all those deadlines for Kansas.
"If they haven't gotten their wheat planted at this point, it's likely that they are not going to plant it."
Based on that likelihood, Boswell said, the wheat commission expects to see fewer acres planted.
"In 2017, we had 7.6 million acres and that was pretty much the lowest that we've had in about 50 years," she said. "And last year it was up a little bit, to 7.89, but I think we're looking at possibly even lower than the 2017 number this year."
But even with concerns and frustration about muddy fields, Boswell and Phelon were quick to point out how much the moisture was needed.
"If they're not able to get their wheat planted this fall, they should have good moisture for planting crops next spring, depending on what happens between now and then," Boswell said. "You can't really complain about the rain because we need that moisture in the soil for the future."
Right now, the state's drought outlook is more positive than it has been in months, with the U.S. Drought Monitor report showing Tuesday just a few places in northeast Kansas still in abnormally dry status.
"None of the state right now is in severe drought," Boswell said. "We have not been able to say that."
Late moisture in the form of October rain and November snow is also creating other difficulties for soybean farmers.
Kansas State University issued a notice about purple seed stain, or blight caused by a fungus, that is affecting crops in the state.
"Large areas of the soybean belt have poor quality soybeans that are being either severely discounted or outright refused at the elevator," K-State's Department of Agronomy said in an online report. "In Kansas, there are confirmed reports of loads being rejected at local elevators and large terminals due to high levels of purple seed stain."
Between trade tariffs affecting commodity prices and the wet weather, it has been a tough year for some Kansas farmers, Boswell said.
"It is definitely a challenging time," she said.
But Phelon held a generally positive attitude. He expressed confidence in President Donald Trump's work on tariffs and trade, and he said he was able to talk with one of the trade negotiators at a recent K-State event.
"He said we've just got to be patient," Phelon said. "Down the road, I think it's going to be better for everybody."