WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas farmers took in an estimated 328 million bushels of winter wheat this season, with losses from abandoned fields in drought-plagued western counties being offset by abundant crops elsewhere. But the report released Monday showed the harvest still fell short of last year’s.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s estimate of the 2013 harvest is down 14 percent from last year’s crop, based on an average yield of 40 bushels of per acre cut from the state’s 8.2 million acres.
Farmers in northwest Kansas suffered the biggest production declines, bringing in just 44 percent of the bushels they had a year ago. Fields in west-central Kansas fared only slightly better with 53 percent, while the southwest had 55 percent of last year’s harvest.
The state’s biggest wheat production area, south-central Kansas, hauled in about 95 percent of what they did in 2012.
The agency’s latest snapshot is based on crop conditions on Aug. 1 amid recurring bouts of heavy rainfall across much of the state. By that time, the winter wheat crop had been already cut, although the recent moisture has brightened the outlook for crops to be harvested in autumn.
The government’s updated forecast also estimates Kansas farmers will harvest 487 million bushels of corn, up 28 percent from last year. That is based on an average yield of 116 bushels of corn per acre cut from 4.2 million acres.
A predicted harvest of 169 million bushels of sorghum is more than double that of a year ago, while soybean production is up 58 percent from a year ago at an anticipated 133 million bushels.
The forecasts for other Kansas crops:
- Cotton production is forecast at 40,000 bales, down 43 percent from last year. Yield is anticipated to be 662 pounds per acre harvested from 29,000 acres.
- Oat production is estimated to be 1.05 million bushels.
- Alfalfa hay production is down 1 percent from last year, although all other hay production is up 58 percent.