WICHITA, Kansas — Farmers are expected to harvest bountiful fall crops of corn, sorghum and soybeans this season in Kansas, the latest government forecast shows.
But for growers such as Tom Giessel the upbeat production forecast does little to address the real issue gnawing at farmers: low grain prices.
"It is taking two bushels to get the same amount of money that one bushel did a couple of years ago — and that is a problem," Giessel said.
On Friday, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported it anticipates Kansas farmers will harvest 566 million bushels of corn this year, down slightly from a year ago.
The agency estimates 3.85 million acres of corn will be cut in the state this year, with average yields forecast at 147 bushels per acre.
Giessel finished cutting 800 acres of corn and 400 acres of grain sorghum about a week ago and is now busy planting his 2016 winter wheat crop at his farm near Larned in Pawnee County.
He sold some of his corn for $3.50 a bushel at the cash price, less than half of the more than $7 a bushel he got for his corn crop two years ago, he said.
"I went ahead and sold all the grain sorghum. I just felt it was a pretty fair crop around the state and I didn't see much hope for improvement," he said of the prices.
The latest report seems to support his observation that there was a lot of sorghum grown in Kansas this year.
The agency estimates sorghum production in the state at 258 million bushels, up 29 percent from last year. Kansas farmers are cutting 3.15 million acres of sorghum with forecast average yields of 82 bushels per acre.
Soybean production is expected to be up 3 percent to 144 million bushels, NASS said.
Updated estimates are based on crop conditions as of Oct. 1.