In 2012, soybean growers were praying for rain and cooler temperatures.
So far, 2013 has more than supplied the rain, though a late hot spell and standing water caused problems of their own.
The rain and cooler temperatures had the right effect, with production forecast at 133 bushels, up 58 percent compared to last year.
Yield is forecast at 36 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels from last year’s yield, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The condition of the Kansas soybean crop was 3 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 43 percent good and 8 percent excellent, according to the USDA’s Sept. 16 Kansas Crop Progress and Condition report.
Stu Duncan, an agronomist at Kansas State University, said this year’s soy crop will either be average or a bit below average.
“Temperatures about 90 degrees make this a difficult crop,” Duncan said. “The key is moisture and air temperature, and even irrigated crops can have problems because of the temperature. The cool spell with rainfall from late July through most of August saved a lot of these fields.”
While the rainfall was a huge help, it also could be a mixed blessing. Plants in low or flat land tended to suffer from the standing water.
Moundridge farmer Neal Galle said while the overabundance of rain wasn’t ideal for soybeans, his crop made it through.
“We had 22 inches of water,” Galle said.
Another dry, hot stretch toward the end of August was another threat, Galle said.
“We had good early growth, but toward the end, it dried out. The last three weeks didn’t help,” he said.
Duncan said despite the August rain bringing the crop up to pleasing yield levels, the late summer heat was harsh.
Now, with 97 percent setting up pods and 24 percent dropping leaves, Duncan said this year’s crop was salvaged.
“Compared to 2011 and 2012, it was a definite uptick,” Duncan said. “It was looking ugly until late July and early August. In May and early June, it was cool enough that the crops weren’t growing quickly, and we were very fortunate it wasn’t very bad. We were blessed by the temperature drops in August and the rainfall.”