Wheat and milo: Top choice for many Kansas farmers

Agriculture

FORD COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas farmers are in their busy season, already gearing up for the months ahead. It’s that time of year again. Every day Kansas farmers are nearing spring planting season and summer harvests. We’re learning about what farmers plan to plant, and how much of each.

The USDA released this year’s crop planting projections after surveying nearly 4,000 Kansas farmers. To some’s surprise, corn acreage is expected to be down 5% and soybeans down 1% from 2020. But leading the front are milo and wheat, bringing in a combined 31% increase. 

“Commodity prices weren’t near as strong back in the fall, but then we fast forward to the spring and then the prices jump and so that kinda changed the narrative a little bit,” said Doug Bounds, Kansas State Statistician.

As for total acreage, the state is looking to top a large 24-million planted acres. “It’s pretty rare in the state of Kansas that we break the 24-million acre mark,” said Bounds.

But some are asking, what’s driving the planting decisions? For many farmers, it’s drought, a strong market, and high export demand.

“If our moisture profile increases then we, it allows us to diversify our crop load a little bit, but I mean, price is kinda the name of the game right now, and it’s kinda a floating target at this point,” said Jeremiah Nicholson, Southwest Kansas Farmer.

These projections do impact Kansans across the state, from economics to supply and demand. According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the industry as a whole brings in more than 70 billion dollars each year and employees a quarter-million people.

Statisticians say there could be fluctuations in the acreages and surveyors will know more after spring planting season. The USDA will survey acreages again in June to report updated numbers.

For a full breakdown of the crop estimates, click here.

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