Terry Griffin

Conrad) Good morning and welcome back to the program. In this segment we talk with Terry Griffin who is a researcher at Kansas State University and a recent addition to the faculty. We spoke with him on is fieldwork in Kansas agriculture. Weather in the state prompted the research from Griffin and he discovered several events and issues that could be applicable to producers. (Terry) I arrived at Kansas State University about seven months ago and for my own information I wanted to track the probability of being able to conduct fieldwork in Kansas for planting, harvesting and other tillage operations. And so every week I started collecting data from USDA National Ag Statistics Service on the days suitable for fieldwork. And we compared that to the long term trends from 1978 to 2014 mainly to get an idea for myself of how dry is western Kansas compared to eastern Kansas. But it happened that 2015 was very wet, especially during the time that Kansas farmers were planting corn, and starting to plant grain sorghum and soybeans. And so it was really interesting to see how bad of a year or how wet of a year 2015 really was. We’re looking at long term trends, for instance the 30 year median, how many days to expect or even in a 30 year period, what’s the probability of having a bad year or a good year. We were able to determine that 2015 had fewer days suitable than long term trends would be. What that means for us is that for instance during the corn planting time, in 2015 a lot of farmers were not able to plant all of their acres that were intended to be planted to corn during that time frame. So, there’s a good probability of reduced yields, if those acres were planted to corn at a later date. Or farmers opted to divert a lot of those acres to other crops, such as soybean, grain sorghum and maybe some others in different locations. The implications for this is how farmers should equip their farms and a decision to, for instance, how big of a planter, how many planters, or how big of a harvester is needed for this particular acreage is dependent upon the expected suitable field days for planting and harvest. We have a pretty good idea for the long term trends. But in any given year, 2015 being a good example, maybe much lower or higher than what we would expect.

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