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Corn harvest underway as forecast calls for a bigger crop

9/13/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

If the forecast holds, Kansas farmers might harvest 525 million bushels of corn this fall -- a boost of 38 million bushels from harvest estimates just a month ago.

At today's prices, that's another $165 million that will flow into farmers pockets, the result of last-minute rains and cooler temperatures at crucial times.

Already, high moisture corn is being harvested in parts of northwest Kansas, including Sheridan and Thomas counties, where corn is a predominant crop.

The harvest estimate, released Thursday by Kansas Agricultural Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests the 525 million bushels of corn will come from 4.2 million acres.

Corn yields this year will be sharply higher than last year's drought-ravaged crop.

This year, the forecast is for yields to average 125 bushels per acre.

Corn production nationally is now forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, an increase of approximately 3 billion compared to a year ago.

That's the primary reason behind a steady drop in corn prices so far this year.

In most parts of the Kansas, corn production will be sharply higher.

In the northwest crop reporting district, production this year will be approximately 150 percent of what it was last year. In the central district, which includes Hays, it's a similar situation.

Conditions are vastly improved for grain sorghum this year as well, with harvest forecasts put at 195 million bushels. That's more than double last year's harvest of just shy of 82 million bushels.

Yield forecasts for this year stand at 75 bushels per acre, more than double last year's yields of 36 bushels per acre.

Kansas soybean production is forecast at 133 million bushels. Cotton production is down sharply as acres to be harvested were cut in half. Total production is estimated at 39,000 bales.