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Kansas Corn Farmers Zip Through Harvest, Bringing in Second Largest Crop in History


Dry weather has allowed Kansas farmers have harvested 89 percent of the state's corn crop, well above the five-year average of 67 percent, according to the Oct. 18 Crop Progress report by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service. At this time last year, the Kansas corn crop was only 43 percent harvested. The 2009 harvest was hampered by wet weather. Last year, Kansas farmers didn't have 89 percent of the crop harvested until Nov. 30.

"Last year, it seemed our harvest would never end. Many of our growers were in the fields on Thanksgiving Day and were concerned they might spend Christmas on a combine as well," according to Kansas Corn Commission Director of Communications Sue Schulte.

According to the report, harvest is basically completed in four of the state's nine crop reporting regions. East Central Kansas is 92 percent complete; Southwest Kansas is 95 percent complete; Central Kansas is 98 percent complete and Southeast and South Central Kansas are both 99 percent complete. The areas with the most corn still in the field are Northwest and North Central Kansas with 77 and 78 percent, respectively.

Kansas Ag Statistics November crop production report estimated the Kansas corn crop at 585 million bushels. This would be the second largest crop in history. In 2009, Kansas harvested a record 598 million bushels. The November report is the last crop estimate until the final report is issued in January.

"Many of our growers have told us their yields are not as good as last year, which was a record year for yield at 155 bushels per acre. This year, KASS has estimated the Kansas yield at 130 bushels per acre on 4.8 million acres, the highest acreage since 1936," Schulte said. "However, we won't know final crop production numbers until the January report."

Even with lower yields, Kansas growers managed to produce the second largest crop in history. The US crop is now pegged to be the third largest crop in history with a projected surplus of about 1 billion bushels, proving that growers are able to provide ample supply for all their customers. For the first time, distillers grains, a coproduct of ethanol production, will displace more than 1 billion bushels of corn in domestic livestock rations this marketing year, providing a high-quality, high-value feed product for livestock producers, both in the United States and abroad.

The dry fall weather has helped to speed along harvest, but has taken a toll on the state's soil moisture.

"While we had too much rain last fall, I think most of our growers would agree that we could use some rain this fall," Schulte said. "With fall harvest nearing completion and most of the Kansas wheat crop now planted, some nice soaking rains would be a great asset, boosting the wheat and building moisture in the ground for our spring planted crops as well."

The Kansas Corn Commission invests the half-cent per bushel corn checkoff in the areas of research, market development, promotion and education. Learn more at www.ksgrains.com.

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