Riley County Agricultural Extension Agent Greg McClure told county commissioners Monday that area farmers have a lot to be excited about.
Summer rains have aided crops — especially corn — and although wheat production may be hurting in many counties in the state, Riley may be an exception.
“I made the (wheat harvest) tour yesterday and it looks to me that we’re getting real close to wrapping up,” McClure said. “Pre-rain test weights from some of the farmers I talked to are really, really good — 64, 65 pounds per bushel.
“Those have dropped down to 59.5 to 61.5, according to some farmers, which is still pretty good this late in the season after that much rain.”
McClure said the average yields have been 40 to 50 pounds per bushel on most fields. There have been a few reports of yields as low as 25 pounds per bushel were there was freeze, he said.
“Riley County is going to be better than you’re going to see in a lot of places,” he said. “We had rain pretty much all the time we needed it.
“We could have used some more in April, but our yields are going to be a lot better than some you see across the state, or at least, that’s my expectation.”
Today, wheat is selling for $6.54 per bushel, according to markets in Leonardville.
Corn, though, which is selling at $3.78 per bushel, looks even better in the county.
“If you’ve seen the corn in Riley County, you got to be impressed,” McClure said.
“Very much so,” Chairman Bob Boyd added.
“If this rain that we had this morning would have hit the whole county, it would have done wonders,” McClure said. “I say this every year : I’m one of those guys that says its not how much (rain) you get but when you get it - and around the Fourth of July is flowering time. (Rains during this time) really bump up the bushel yield on the corn crop.
“Cool weather and wet weather at flowering time is a good thing.”
McClure said soybeans - currently trading at $12.78 per bushel - also look good in the county.
“They’re starting to bloom, and really everything is in pretty good shape,” he said. “The first cutting of the Alfalfa hay crop wasn’t very good —there just wasn’t enough rain in the spring time — but the second cutting looks pretty good and they’re trying to get back on track.
“Brome, which should have been done a month ago, is starting to get knocked down now, so we’re behind in those areas, but things are really pretty good in Riley County. Another rain now, and this will just be a beautiful year.”
Overall, there are roughly 20,000 acres of wheat planted in the county, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s annual “Kansas Farm Facts” newsletter. Corn acreage is estimated at 16,000 and sorghum tallies slightly over 8,000. Almost 37,000 acres of soybeans are planted in Riley County and hay acreage is over 60,000.
The state of Kansas as a whole produces just shy of 400 million bushels of wheat alone — which is 17 percent of the total U.S. output.