Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Moisture beneficial to corn crop

July 18, 2001

Last week's rain was a crop-saver for corn.

Between July 9 and July 11, areas of the county received as much as 2.5 inches of rain, throwing out a lifeline to crops that hadn't been hailed out or flooded out.

"We've been fortunate in the county in that we got some rain last week when we needed it very badly," said Rick Abel, Leavenworth County executive director of Farm Service Agency. "It gives corn another two to three weeks of progress."

The progress is especially needed after this year's weather extremes, Abel said.

Across the county, about 20,000 acres have been planted in corn. Of these, Abel said, from 2,000 to 2,500 were wiped out or severely damaged by flooding and hail.

Travis McGraw, who farms northeast of Tonganoxie, as well as south of Tonganoxie said this year's weather has been unusually tough on corn.

"The corn we have around the house and some other fields that we got planted on time is really looking good," McGraw said. "It's an average or above-average crop right now, I think."

Those fields may make 100-bushel-plus corn, McGraw said. And a good rain in early August could increase that calculation dramatically, he added.

One of the fields Travis and his father, Mike McGraw, farms is about two miles south of Tonganoxie an area pummeled by a June 1 hailstorm.

Even though it was late to replant the field in corn, it was their only choice, because of chemicals that had already been applied.

The new crop's progress is slow.

"It's waist high now," McGraw said. It should have been pollinating now. It's way behind."

These late fields will require two or three more rainfalls to show a yield, he said.

Abel said it's likely this year area farmers won't have a bumper corn crop.

"I think probably when November rolls around we're probably going to see some average corn yields if we get the rain through July," Abel said. "But there's going to be some extremely good yields in some places and some extremely poor yields in others because of the obstacles they've had to face."

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