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Corn on the Cob
Monday 1st of August 2011 08:10 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

There may be corn on the cob at the farmers' market or the grocery store this summer. But there's not much corn on the cob in south central or southwest Kansas' dryland farm fields this year.

It was too hot and dry for corn plants to make ears of grain. With no rain and the temperature staying at the 100-degree-plus mark or more for the 35th day (as of last Thursday), hopes for a dryland corn crop are drying up. During the past week or so, farmers in our area have tried to salvage some value from the crop by swathing and baling it.

One of our neighbors put his crop into big round bales. Another chopped the drought-stricken crop into silage.

A cutter chops the swathed corn and deposits it into a truck.

It's then hauled to a bunker silo, where it will ferment into silage.

Our neighbor thought he'd have enough to fill his silo and then have some to sell to us. However, he didn't get the tonnage he'd hoped, so our silo is still empty. The sorghum-sudan cross that Randy planted after harvest didn't have enough moisture to come up this year. Randy will probably be looking to buy chopped corn silage from someone else.

Many farmers carry insurance on crop production, though it doesn't cover the entire cost of seed, planting, fertilizing, tillage, herbicide and other production expenses. Most insurance companies require that producers leave a strip of 12 rows the length of the field so a crop adjustor can evaluate yield potential later in the season.

With the drought also impacting the alfalfa crop and sudan grown for livestock feed, the corn silage and the round bales will give producers something to put in the feedbunks for cattle come wintertime.

   Respond to this Entry
Response 1
Monday 1st of August 2011 10:31:18 AM
Submitted by: Gary
As a crop adjuster in southwest and south central Kansas, I totally concur with Kim. There are very few dry land corn fields left standing, and if they are today (Aug.1) they won't be for long. A few showers have popped up in some localized areas to give brief relief, but this drought is entrenched and one farmer told me "it will take years to get the subsoil moisture back to normal." The sorghum-sudan that has been planted as an emergency means to get forage is dying at a foot tall. Some fields of milo, probably the most drought tolerant crop other than sunflowers, has given up and there are very few heads and those have no grain. In some areas, even the trees are starting to drop leaves. Locally, we've now surpassed 30 days of triple digit heat with more forecast. We did get a tenth of an inch rain on Monday morning (7/25/11), and a half inch in 20 minutes on June 11th, but that's the only measureable rain this year. The last good rain was October. This is historic......one for the record books......the drought of '11.
Response 2
Tuesday 2nd of August 2011 10:03:41 AM
Submitted by: Kim
Gary: You have a unique perspective, and I appreciate you taking time to comment. It's a very discouraging year for many producers.

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