Corn flourishes following rain
Three months ago, the area's corn forecast didn't look so good.
Farmers hadn't seen a decent rain for months.
Corn and soybeans had little chance to germinate in the dry soil, let alone survive the anticipated continued drought.
But on May 9, the skies let loose with needed rainfall. And now, at McGraw Fertilizer, about five miles north of town, gauges show that about 14.4 inches of rain have since drenched the fields.
"It's been a wild turn-around from what it was earlier in the spring when it was so dry," said Jim Grinter, who grows corn and soybeans.
But nothing's for sure yet, he added.
"Everything looks great, but if this hot weather continues, it could go the other way again."
Leavenworth Agricultural Extension Agent Sy Nyhart, has been keeping an eye on crops, too.
"The corn is all caught up and looks terrific and the beans look very good, too," Nyhart said.
Russell Plashka, who farms southwest of Tonganoxie, said area corn and soybeans are right on target.
"The crops are looking real good right now," Plashka said. "We've had a lot of good rain lately."
The early corn, particularly, though, may soon need more rain.
The silks of the early maturing corn are starting to turn brown, an indication, Plashka said, that pollination is over and now it's time for the kernels to fill out and mature.
"We may need some more moisture for that early corn to fill and finish out," he said.
The later maturing corn is just now pollinating, Plashka said. The dry hot weather could damage its progress.
"A couple of weeks like this and we'll start to see some potential yields start to drop," he said.
Soybeans, now in the blooming stage, also need continued rains if they're going to get good yields in the fall.
"The soybeans won't begin to fill their pods until sometime in August," Grinter said. "Their critical pod-filling time is yet to come."
Plashka said the beans, including the beans drilled into wheat fields immediately after harvest, are doing well. Especially well, he said, considering the drought that could have been.
"The crops really made a big turn around. It's the best that crops have looked for a long time," Plashka said. "But still, again, we're at the mercy of mother nature."