Spotty rainfall has continued to delay the finish of wheat harvest in Crawford County, but has been good for corn and young soybeans.
Wildcat District Extension Agent Josh Coltrain said the end of wheat harvest is very close.
“Farmers are still fighting mother nature,” he said. “But we’re going to be done soon even with the rain. There are just a few fields here and there left.”
Coltrain said yield is average, although it may not seem that way compared to past years.
“We had some really strong wheat years the past few,” Coltrain said. “So this year we seem below that average, but we are sitting at our long term average.”
Coltrain also said corn is looking marvelous. Timely rain has helped keep the plants growing and healthy, but Coltrain said in some places it looks too good.
“I’ve seen some fields with multiple ears per plant, which is a sign we could have planted a heavier population,” he said. “We normally want one good ear per plant, but hindsight is 20-20. If we had known conditions would be this good, we would’ve planted heavier.”
Even with plants looking great, the potential for southern rust is still present.
“I’ve heard from some folks who think they have it, but southern rust has not been confirmed her yet,” Coltrain said. “It’s something we still want farmers to be cautious about if they think they have it.”
Southern rust forms orange or yellow pustules on the leaves of corn crop and can damage the yield. It can be taken care of by spraying fungicide.
Common rust also creates pustules on the leaves of corn plants, but they are longer and a darker brown or red. Coltrain said in southeast Kansas farmers don’t worry about common rust or spraying for it, as it does not usually present a danger to yield.
“I was on a conference call with our state pathologist, Doug Jardine, and he said the common rust is more than he’s ever seen,” Coltrain said. “We don’t usually worry about spraying it, bu this year he was saying we maybe should have.”
The rain has also helped young soybeans, but Coltrain said it is still too early to see any potential problems.
As far as soybean prices — which have remained under $10 for months — Coltrain is not optimistic.
“I hate to say it, but I’m more concerned about prices dropping than I am optimistic that they’ll go up,” he said. “If we produce like we have in past years, we may be at a peak right now.”
Coltrain said soybean acres are way up across the nation, driving down the price.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.