Corn yields good; cotton best in years

Sunday, September 30, 2001

The corn harvest is past the half-way mark in Cape Gir-ardeau County.

"Harvesting is about done in the southern part of the county," said Terry Birk, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office in Jackson, Mo. "We're ahead of last year, and yields have been running above average."

Corn in the Southeast Missouri has had good growing conditions throughout the season.

"The crop was never stressed too long at any one time," said Birk. "Rains were sporadic throughout the season. About the only weak spots we had were in the extreme low areas."

Statewide, corn is over 90 percent mature, and about 50 percent harvested, ranging from "almost complete" in the Bootheel areas to "just getting started" in the north, say state statisticians with the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service.

Corn harvest is about complete in the Bootheel areas, where farmers have turned to cotton harvest.

Winter thinned out bugs

Kennett farmer Steve Droke, president of the Cotton Producers of Missouri, said farmers had been surprised with the harvest to date.

"The boll weevil hasn't been around this year, and last winter's cold temperatures took care of a lot of other insects," he said. "This is one of the best crops in several years."

Most of the cotton in Missouri is raised in a half-dozen Southeast Missouri counties, headed by Dunklin County with more than 150,000 acres a year. Cotton is also big in Pemiscot and New Madrid counties, with acreage from 75,000 to almost 100,000.

Overall, the state is expect to harvest about 400,000 acres of cotton, with expectations of about 560,000 bales, up 4 percent from a year ago. Yields are expected to top 680 pounds an acre, up 13 pounds from last year.

More than half of the cotton harvested in Missouri is placed into giant modules 32 feet long and 18 feet high at the ends of the fields. The modules, which are later transported to cotton gins, contain 10 to 15 bales of cotton. The rest of the cotton is taken directly to gins.

Soybeans turning color

Statewide, the soybean crop has turned color and is dropping leaves, but the harvest is just starting.

Farmers will be cutting soybeans through October, Birk said.

Mississippi, Pemiscot, New Madrid and Stoddard are among the state's top 10 soybean-producing counties, each with more than 150,000 acres.

Overall, Missouri soybean production is forecast at 157 million bushels, based on mid-September conditions, issued by Gene Danekas, state statistician. He said the expected yield is about 32 bushels an acre. Danekas added that overall corn production is forecast at 350 million bushels, down about 10 percent from last year.

Rice production in the state is expected to about 23 percent above last year's crop. Farmers have planted about 205,000 acres, a record high, which are expected to produce about 5,750 pounds an acre.

rowen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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