Farmers' soybean yields follow the rain
In a year that bought flooding and drought to Marion County, soybeans proved their resilience, but yields fell slightly below last year’s and varied widely.
“It’s all across the board,” area farmer Terry Vinduska said. “There are fields in the mid-30s and fields in the 50s. Guys are telling me the yields are following where the rain fell.”
Summer rains drenched fields in the southern part of the county while the north was left dry.
Burns saw 6.94 inches of rainfall, and Lincolnville just 1.13 in June, which also included five days of temperatures that topped 100 degrees.
July and August in Marion were dry with 2.19 and 2.15 inches of rainfall. Early fall bought 2.68 inches to the area.
Soybeans are more tolerant to drought than wheat or corn, so yields didn’t suffer as much, county extension agent Rickey Roberts said.
“When corn gets thirsty, it needs water now; it’s not going to wait on a drink. Beans will wait on you to bring them some water,” he said, adding that the drought still did take a toll in some fields.
John Ottensmeier, manager of Marion Cooperative Grain Supply, estimated 90% of farmers near Marion were finished cutting soybeans.
Prices stood at $11.84 this week, but many are still waiting to sell.
“A lot of them are watching it to see if it will go up,” he said, adding a few were hoping prices will rebound to $12.
Dan O’Brien, an agricultural economist with Kansas State University, said prices have been “historically decent,” but fuel and fertilizer costs had jumped.
Ongoing COVID-19 concerns and a spike in demand for durable goods have led to jammed shipping ports in China and Los Angeles.
“The problem had its genesis in last year’s disruptions and hasn’t unwound yet,” O’Brien said.
Many farmers are concerned with finishing harvest.
“Their financial assets are sitting out in the field and they want to get them in,” O’Brien said.
Chuck Knight, manager of the Peabody branch of Mid-Kansas Cooperative said 85% of area farmers had finished soybean harvest. He estimated yields for the crop were in the “upper 30s.”
“We’ve got a ways to go, but we are getting closer every day,” Knight said. “Some years farmers are still dumping beans until Christmas, and some years they are done by Thanksgiving. It depends on the year.”
Bad weather has stalled harvesting, Ottensmeier said.
“They’d be done if it hadn’t rained a little while ago,” he said. “But now the fields are wet.”
A few area farmers tried to cut soybeans this weekend, but rain could dampen fields again.
This year’s first snowfall is possible in some areas of the county today, said Christian Williams, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wichita.
“Not everyone may see it, but there is a chance of flurries,” he said.
Last modified Nov. 4, 2021