Corn and Kansas crops go hand in hand. This year’s Sunflower State crop is forecast at just under 800 million bushels. This is down 2% from last year, according to the USDA.
For Haven farmers, Bob Bacon and his son-in-law Daniel Kelly, it’s an average year.
"It was looking really good early on," Kelly said. "But August was hot and dry."
On Friday, Kelly and Bacon’s corn field brought in about 220 bushels an acre.
"But our other fields are lower," Kelly said. "We’ll probably finish at about 200."
For Jake Amerin, a farmer in Plains, this year’s corn harvest was below average by about 20 bushels. Amerin runs Sunny Farm with his father.
"We got done on Thursday, but most of our neighbors are still cutting," Amerin said. "Our yield was below average too."
Amerin said he thought his low yield on his one thousand acres of non-irrigated corn was a combination of not getting rain and a low water table.
According to the USDA, this year’s average yield of the 5.75 million acres planted is forecast at 137 bushels per acre. This is up by four bushels from 2019.
As of Oct. 5, 44% of Kansas corn was harvested. This is 34% ahead of last year, but according to the USDA, behind the 49% average by this time during the past five years. More than half of the corn already harvested is either good or excellent, with about one-firth ranked at poor or very poor.
Forty percent of Kelly and Bacon’s irrigated corn fields needed to be replanted because of this spring’s rains. For them, the test weight was 61.
Kelly and Bacon planted a cover crop between the corn rows and were excited to see the radishes and triticale blossom as they cut the stalks. Usually they bring in steers to feed on the field. This year, they are letting a cow/calf operation feed on the residual.
"One of my main goals is to significantly decrease the amount of my input costs," Kelly said. "I think there’s more opportunity to be more than what we are now. We’re willing to try just about everything."