Corn harvest started last week and don’t be 'corn-fused’ — so far, things are looking positive for this year’s crop.
Geary County Extension Agent Chuck Otte said it was too early to know what yields would be like, but he was optimistic.
"As far as yields we won't know for quite a while,” he said. "It does look good.”
Because the harvest is just beginning, most of what farmers are gleaning now is going to be from corn that was planted on sandy soil and short-seasoned corn
"So it's not going to be as good a stuff as the full season, (which) is on the good bottom ground that won't be harvested for another probably three to four weeks,” Otte said. "But yeah, so far the corn harvest is looking really, really good.”
He believed the harvest would really kick into high gear after Labor Day weekend.
"I think we're gonna have a good corn harvest,” Otte said. "I'm a little concerned. We saw some evidence of of some diseases moving into the plants late in the season that would be called stock rot organisms and basically it causes a weakness in the lower part of the stems so the corn plants tend to fall over. (I’ve) been talking with some producers about scouting and if we started detect elevated levels of stock rot developing, then you know those fields will get moved up higher on the priority list to get harvested sooner before they have a chance to fall over.”
High levels of moisture at the rights times have helped the corn crop this year, Otte said.
“It was a pretty wet May, which made it a challenge to get some things planted timely, but we had good soil moisture. June was a little bit dry but the corn had plenty of moisture and it wasn't bad. It was a little bit above normal, so the corn crop caught up. And then July — that critical time during pollination and grain filling — it just kept raining and it was just — (you) couldn't ask for anything better than that. So then, August — now it was a little bit — depending on where you were in the county — average, a little bit below average rainfall, but enough (moisture) to keep the crop going. But also a lot of warm, sunny days to to get the crop to finish filling in out and start moving toward maturity. It just really was a it was a picture perfect summer for the corn harvest — for the corn crop, I should say."
The soy bean crop, too, looks positive in Geary County, he said, especially if there’s further rain.
“It's a good crop right now,” he said. "One more rain will make it a really good crop.”
Upcoming cool temperatures are a concern for Otte.
Starting today and extending through the rest of the week, a cold front is moving in and could lower temperatures by roughly 70 degrees over what they were just yesterday. It’s going to feel more like October outside than mid-September and that’s not just a problem for people who aren’t ready to say goodbye to summer.
Otte said this could endanger grain sorghum, also known as milo, which is a hot weather crop. If temperatures sink below 60 degrees which they are expected to this week — those crops could simply cease growing until temperatures rise back into the mid-70s again. Grain sorghum isn’t Geary County’s top crop, but there are some producers who grow it locally and right now, Otte said, those crops are looking good. This may not be the case by the end of this week.
“The milo crop’s just going to sit there,” he said, during this upcoming cold. “We'll get some warm weather afterwards to get it kind of cranking back up, but it needs some more — the grain sorghum crop — definitely needs a little bit more heat to get it to where it needs to be."
On the subject of cold weather, Otte does not believe this is a sign of things to come. At this time, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center indicates warmer temperatures this winter and lower-than-average precipitation, he said.
“We're going to have a few cold days next week and it’s going to warm back up,” Otte said.