Soybean yields still low after late season rains

LINN COUNTY, Kan. - The dry weather pattern that's plagued much of the Midwest since last year is bringing more disappointment to farmers this fall as they harvest soybeans.

Even after recent generous rains, the entire Kansas City area is still in a "severe" or "extreme" drought. For farmers, it's a loss in crops and drop in profits.

Linn County, Kan., farmer Brad Stainbrook is ready to forget about his corn harvest.

"Less than half, even down to one third of what we'd anticipated," he said.

Some of Stainbrook's cornfields produced next to nothing. Now his soybeans are giving him hope, especially in low-lying ground.

"We've got plenty of soil, clay-contented soil to hold moisture, so the beans hung on a lot longer," Stainbrook said.

Those fields are producing as much as 40 bushels per acre, which is around normal and nearly double the Kansas statewide average of 22 bushels per acre.

"If we had everything that we farmed in a river bottom situation with good soil types, we'd probably be in real good shape and it'd be like a normal year," Stainbrook said.

But half of his land is higher up and much closer to the state average, evening out his good fortune and lowering profits.

"Whenever you figure everything together, we're probably going to be right at the 'break even' and a little ahead maybe," Stainbrook said.

High soybean prices - more than $15 per bushel - are raising farmers' profits, though it will cost consumers more at the grocery store.

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