Fall crops prosper despite early setbacks
Agriculture sustained its average in 2001, despite a some early-season blows from Mother Nature.
"It turned out pretty good, considering he had to replant," said Carol Oeschlaeger, whose husband, Everett, raises corn and soybeans six miles southeast of Tonganoxie. "We were wiped out with that hailstorm back in June he was worried then that he wouldn't get anything at all."
Their corn and beans ended up ready for harvest later than usual, Oeschlaeger said, but the yields were solid, with corn finishing at about 100 bushels to the acre, and beans averaging 35 bushels.
Rick Abel, Leavenworth County's executive director of the Farm Service Agency, said producers throughout the county saw good yields.
"It's been a fantastic fall," Abel said. "I don't know if you could order it any better than this."
Abel said the area could use some moisture for wheat.
"But for the guys harvesting corn and beans, it's just been fantastic," Abel said. "There are some mornings when there wasn't any fog that I saw combines cutting beans at seven in the morning and that's almost unheard of."
Corn yields throughout Leavenworth County are better than average, Abel said.
"We could see yields ranging from 80 bushes to the acre up to 150 bushels," Abel said. "The quality seems to be pretty good, too."
The exception on good yields, Abel said, was in areas flooded during June rains.
"Obviously, those yields won't be as good," Abel said.
A late August rain salvaged the area's soybean crop, and area farmers are seeing bean yields of from 25 to 55 bushels to the acre.
Corn is running from $1.80 to $1.90 a bushel, about 15 to 20 cents higher than last year. And beans are moving at $4 to $4.10 a bushel, about 20 to 30 cents less than a year ago.
It's not unusual for grain prices to be slightly lower during harvest, said Abel, who anticipates soybean prices to bump upward after harvest.
Despite the increased urbanization of the county, and in part because of changes in the farm program, Abel said, the number of acres planted in corn and soybeans is about the same as it was a decade ago.
This year in Leavenworth County, about 20,000 to 25,000 acres were planted in corn, and about 50,000 acres were planted in soybeans. Ten years ago, corn acreage was about the same, but there were about 10,000 fewer acres of soybeans.
Abel said the successful bean and corn harvest tops off a good agricultural year for the county's 1,400 agricultural producers.
"The wheat was very good, too," he said. "We saw yields ranging from 40 to 60 bushels to the acre."
The price of wheat remains at its harvest price of $3 a bushel, Abel said.