WICHITA - Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting the smallest corn crop in Kansas since 2006 amid a deepening drought.
The agency expects Kansas growers to bring in 390.6 million bushels of corn; that's down 13% from last year.
Kansas farmers planted 4.7 million acres of corn and are expected to harvest grain from 4.2 million of those acres. Thousands of corn acres have been abandoned or baled for silage.
The service estimated average yields this year of 93 bushels per acre, the lowest Kansas corn yield since 1983.
Sorghum production is forecast at 88 million bushels, down 20% from a year ago, and the smallest crop since 1956.
The soybean crop is estimated to come in at 73.7 million bushels, down 27%.
The 2012 winter wheat crop sitting in elevators across Kansas remains the single bright spot in a dismal forecast for the state's fall-harvested crops.
This year's wheat was harvested before this summer's drought took hold in Kansas.
Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service estimated the state's wheat crop at 387 million bushels. The estimate is 2% lower than the agency's forecast last month, but is still 40% higher than the drought-stricken 2011 wheat crop.
This is the biggest wheat crop in Kansas since 2003.
The agency says the wheat was cut from 9 million acres. That is 1.1 million more acres than harvest a year ago. It is the largest Kansas wheat acreage since 2006.
A new government forecast says alfalfa hay production is up 15% in Kansas after a huge spike in harvested acres.
Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service reported that Kansas growers are expected to harvest 2.25 million tons of alfalfa hay. The expected yield of three tons per acre is the same as a year ago, but it is coming off about 750,000 acres.
Kansas farmers planted 100,000 more acres of alfalfa hay this year in response to record hay prices last year.
Kansas growers also harvested 1.8 million acres of other types of hay, about 50,000 more acres than last year.
But despite those added acres, production of other hay types is forecast to be down 12% from last year at 2.16 million tons.