The Buzz

The state of the wheat crop, cellulosic ethanol comes to Kansas and a Kiowa County land sale.

In wheat country, cautious optimism among farmers is the norm. This year is no different. A mild winter, improved topsoil moisture relative to a year ago, and decent grain prices put a smile on the faces of many growers at a meeting in Salina this week.

  • Yet, the caution comes from folks who have seen this scenario before. Jim Shroyer, Extension wheat specialist at K-State, says wheat has broken dormancy too early and could be subject to late freeze. In the Kansas City Star this week, Shroyer said the Kansas crop, “…looks actually too good for this time of the year. With the warm weather conditions we’ve had, the wheat has really taken off. It’s not paying any attention to the calendar whatsoever…”
  • One only has to go back to 2007 to see how an Easter Weekend freeze decimated much of the Kansas crop…
  • Construction has begun on the new biomass ethanol plant near Hugoton, the Hutchinson News reports. The Spanish company Abengoa has spent 15 years developing its cellulosic ethanol technology, and will need more than 150,000 acres of crop stubble, switchgrass or other biomass to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year…
  • The concern, of course, is that harvesting crop residues will take much-needed cover off of these drought-stricken farm fields, making them prone to wind erosion. However, Abengoa spokesperson Tom Robb says irrigated corn fields feature plenty of residue that is difficult to break down, and growers can market this residue to the ethanol plant, which should be finished by 2015…
  • Funny how two states away, there is seldom any concern about drought, or crop rotation to manage precipitation, or preserving residue to save moisture. Not to say its easy to farm in Illinois. The newsletter “LandOwner” reports a new record high land price in that state was achieved Feb. 21, when 160 acres of cropland near Bloomington (central Illinois) sold for $14,100 per acre…
  • Six years ago, a farm across the road fetched a then-record price of $6,000 per acre…
  • This week’s Land Sale features three tracts totaling 640 acres of irrigated Kiowa County land, sold March 12. Located between Kinsley and Greensburg, the farms were located on three adjacent sections. Tract one, 160 open acres, had 130 acres under center pivot irrigation; water right was for 107 acre feet at 820 gallons per minute. It sold for $592,000 ($3,700 per acre). Tract two, 160 open acres, had 130 acres under center pivot; water right was for 221 acre feet at 740 gallons per minute. It sold for $952,000 ($5,950 per acre). Tract three, 320 acres with 260 acres under pivot; water right was for 452 acre feet at 1,345 gallons per minute. One pivot was planted to alfalfa; the other, wheat with all crops going to the buyer. It sold for $1.66 million ($5,200 per acre)…
  • Carr Auction, Larned, had the sale. Audience members said the room was full of active bidders and the selling price was surprisingly high, considering the seller did not include the irrigation equipment.


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