Kansas Farmers Cutting Losses Amid Drought

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Many Kansas farmers are already cutting their losses. Crops meant to be harvested this fall are instead being cut for cattle feed.

It’s further evidence of the deepening effects of the Kansas drought. Corn stalks with no corn are forcing farmers to cut it into silage instead of grain."

After a beneficial rain on May 31, Sedgwick County farmer Mic Rausch had high hopes of a decent corn crop; following no harvest the previous year due to drought. Well, the rain stopped, the heat came and this is what farmers like Rausch are left with.

"And with the heat and hot, dry winds it just burned it up. There's nothing on the ears. The ears didn't even pollinate. It aborted the ears. So it's basically standing feed," says Rausch.

He says insurance adjustors appraised the field and zeroed it out.

"They said there wasn't nothing there to even cut," Rausch says.

Farmers not being able to harvest their crops for grains means missing out on high commodity prices.

"We're in a drought year and there are actually very few people going to make any money on this corn price,” Rausch says. “They're not going to have the acres to cut or the bushels."

He figured in a couple of months, trucks would be hauling grain to that coop elevator in the distance. Instead, carts take the cut stalks to the barn where it is ground into silage for the dairy cows.

"It's a lot better than having no feed at all," he says.

But turning this into feed isn’t what a farmer intends. It just happens to be the hand they are being dealt for the second summer in a row.

Rausch says, "This basically is stalks and leaves. There is no corn that I can find. Wait a minute; here's on little kernel. And it should be plum yellow."

So, a corn crop that started out with high hopes in the Spring turns into another casualty of the ongoing Kansas drought.

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