Farm Talk

Crops

September 17, 2013

Better forage conditions in many drought conditions

Parsons, Kansas — I have had the opportunity to travel nearly 4000 miles in the month of August over a good deal of the drought areas of the Southern Plains and western Great Plains. In one trip I traveled across the Texas Panhandle and made a loop covering much of central and eastern New Mexico. In another trip I traveled across south-central and southwest Nebraska, central and western Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma. Most all of this region is shortgrass native range and a mixture of dryland and irrigated farming.

Recent rains have resulted in significant short term improvement in range conditions in much of these regions. The warm-season grasses that make up native ranges in the central and southern Plains typically receive monsoonal summer moisture and will respond with forage growth resulting in high quality forage in the fall and winter. The recent rains do not imply that drought is erased from many of these regions nor that forage production is back to normal after sustained damage from several years of drought. However, the forage growth that does occur will help stabilize the severely reduced herd numbers in the region and may allow for limited heifer retention this fall. Full recovery of these native ranges will require several years but this could be an important first step in that process. With respect to crop production, the recent rains will do little to change the damage already incurred on summer crops, especially corn, though it may help soybean and grain sorghum production in Kansas and southern Nebraska.

In southwestern Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma, I saw a lot farming activity as producers were preparing wheat ground for seeding. The improvement in western Oklahoma, combined with the removal of drought in much of central and eastern Oklahoma, provides the best opportunity in several years for wheat pasture grazing in the state. Along with improved moisture conditions, moderate temperatures resulting in cooler soil temperatures provide a better opportunity for wheat producers to plant early for forage production.

Improved wheat pasture prospects means that good stocker cattle demand will continue to support strong stocker prices this fall. Feeder cattle supplies are limited by a smaller calf crop, more retained heifer demand and fewer imported feeder cattle. Current feeder cattle markets offer good value of gain, especially for feeder cattle marketed at relatively heavy weights. Stocker producers should evaluate a wide range of potential stocker sizes depending on the amount of time (and total gain potential) available. The market generally favors holding lightweight stockers to heavier weights or starting with somewhat heavier beginning weights. Though it isn’t apparent yet, I expect to see heifer prices at less of a discount than typical to steers by next spring. Despite the challenges of high purchase prices and limited feeder supplies, there is considerable opportunity for a wide variety of winter wheat grazing programs. £

1
Text Only
Crops
  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kan. wheat crop smallest since 1996

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to produce its smallest winter wheat crop since 1996, an indication of a deepening drought across the nation's wheat belt, the government said in its first official forecast of the growing season.

    May 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content