View From the Cab

Eye on the Yield Prize

Farmers Genny Haun, Kenton, Ohio, and Kyle Krier, Claflin, Kansas, are reporting in on crop conditions and agricultural topics throughout the 2018 growing season as part of DTN's View From the Cab series.

CLAFLIN, Kan. (DTN) -- Farmers know all too well that there's no such thing as a made crop until it is in the bin or sold down the road.

However, this year's View From the Cab contributors are experiencing a decent growing season in their areas of Kansas and Ohio. "You don't have to go very far from here to find areas that are burning up, and I really feel for those farmers," said Kyle Krier. "We have been so blessed so far this year."

Last week's article titled "Rounding third and headed for home" might have been rushing the season a bit, though, Krier noted. "I'd say it is more like we're rounding second, headed for third and still hoping Mother Nature doesn't throw us out," he said.

This past week, DTN traveled to Kansas to find the term "dryland" to be anything but, and that's something of a miracle in early August in the central Plains. Below the lush soybean canopy, the soil, when pinched and rolled between thumb and finger, was still moist and clinging together nicely. With more rain in the forecast, the outlook was for the possibility of five hay cuttings, and soybeans were continuing to flower and set pods.

While the sand roads aren't nearly as dusty and grasshoppers are fewer in the fencerows, other pests were on the scouting list. The hope that no additional inputs would be necessary is top of mind and has to be weighed with the economics of preserving top-end yield.

Here is what's happening in their parts of the farming world:


There was no shortage of movement about Layman Farms this week. Excavating equipment and crews were on the move, said Genny Haun.

Haun farms with her husband, Matt, and her parents, Jan and Cindy Layman, near Kenton, Ohio.

"We will be up to our necks in waterway construction clear up until we start harvest. We have a Sept. 15 seeding deadline on those," she noted.

"It's a double-edge sword -- we want periodic rains to help finish filling the crops, but just about any measurable rain will keep us out of waterway construction for several days," she added. The dirt has to flow right for proper construction.

"We can't do goobers," she said, using her father's term for working the land wet. However, tile can be installed even if the soil is a little sticky. "We've been picking up water in every tile we've put in at three- to four-feet depths," she reported.

Crop scouting isn't their favorite thing to do, so Haun said they've been grateful for few issues so far. "Frogeye can be found in some areas if you look for it. Japanese beetles have a presence. We've not seen any SDS issues in our fields.

"So far, nothing we've seen has been at threshold levels. We take into consideration the additional cost and labor of applying fungicide, and it is usually outweighed by the fact it keeps our crops from drying down," she said.

Yield checks on corn have them almost afraid to dream. "Let's put it this way -- we are set up to have the best corn crop we've ever had. Yields look to be consistent across the board. Usually, we end up with multiple drowned-out spots, making for highs and lows averaging out less than hoped, but we have very little of that this year.

"It's still too early to see much on soybeans -- they are podded well, but not filling yet. Mother Nature still holds the cards to how we finish the season."


Wading out into a soybean field to grab a representative soybean sample is no easy task these days for Kyle Krier. The plants reach nearly to the waist of the 6-foot-2-inch Krier, and then there's the 7.5-inch row spacing.

"We've never had soybeans look like this," he said, looking at the well-branched plants with pods at each node with more than a few of those pods containing four beans.

"I took a little heat from local farmers last week for saying our best soybean fields could go 60 bushel per acre," Krier admitted. "But I'll be surprised if we don't have some do that. They are still blooming and setting pods." Even his father, Kirby, admits that it is likely the best soybean crop he's seen in his farming career.

According to the latest USDA NASS projections, 43% of the 2018 Kansas soybean crop is rated good to excellent. Loopers, stem borer, pod worms and Japanese beetle are on Krier's current list of soybean pest worries. "Webworms aren't terrible yet, but I'm keeping an eye on them," he said. Webworms have been known to move out of harvested alfalfa fields when their food source is disturbed and into soybean fields.

Haying has been a full-time job this summer. Running the baler late into the night has become standard operating procedure. "Our best hay by far gets put up at night. It dries out too quickly during the day."

This week he also made an emergency 300-mile round trip to supply a dairy with some alfalfa hay. Being willing to take those extra steps is important to developing a market and cultivating a network of steady hay customers.

Although Krier doesn't have any corn acreage this year, he said some favorable rainfall and temperatures are all corn needs to finish strong in the area. Choppers are starting to make silage, and corn harvest for grain should begin early September, he said.

Milo yields also look promising, but sugarcane aphid and headworm were being reported to the south of his farming area that spans out between Claflin, Ellinwood and Great Bend.

Krier farms in Barton County, the geographical center of the state of Kansas. The county is named for Clara Barton of American Red Cross fame. The rolling Kansas hills have mostly flattened here to row crops sprinkled with oil fields. Krier Oil was busy drilling another oil well this week.

Being a steady producer around these parts means wearing many hats, Krier noted. "As for crops, weather and what type of pressure we have with disease and insects will play a big part in how we finish," he said.

Pamela Smith can be reached at

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