"I think everybody is happy with the yields," said Jim Bob Lewton, Kanza Co-op grain merchandiser. "It's just a tremendous corn crop."

The corn crop is good and farmers have a reason to smile again. Irrigated corn is making 200 bushel and acre give or take 10 bushel and the test weights are heavy.

"I think everybody is happy with the yields," said Jim Bob Lewton, Kanza Co-op grain merchandiser. "It's just a tremendous corn crop."

The Kanza Co-op has taken in one million more bushel of corn this year then the same time in 2006. The increase is from farmers planting more acres than a year ago, Lewton said.

The corn harvest is almost done in Pratt County and the crop is so good, mountains of corn are stored outside because the elevators are full with corn.

The dry land corn yields range from 100 bushel in western Kansas to 150 bushel in places in central Kansas, said Kraig Roozeboom, state agronomy crop production specialist.

The milo harvest is under way and doing well. It's making from 60 to 90 bushel an acre and that is above average. The test weights and quality are excellent, Lewton said.

"What we've seen so far has been pretty good milo," Lewton said.

Milo could use a good freeze to help it dry down. Milo absorbs moisture during the nights and needs sunshine to get dried down. With fewer daylight hours it takes more time for milo harvest than other crops.

"The window for harvesting milo isn't as big as wheat," said Mark Ploger, Pratt County extension agent.

Milo is also being stored outside due to the amount of corn.

Soybean harvest is just starting and they didn't fare as well as corn and milo. They looked good until the hot weather in August and September set the beans back and they will produce an average crop, Roozeboom said.

Corn, milo and soybeans will combine to give farmers some much-needed good news after a disastrous wheat harvest.

"Statewide we're going to have a pretty respectable row crop harvest," Roozeboom said.

Cotton harvest is from a week to 10 days away. So far only one cotton harvester is running in the area, said Roger Sewell, High Plains Cotton Gin manager of business development.

The Pratt County cotton crop is much smaller than last year. Cotton acres are down because many farmers switched to corn to take advantage of higher prices plus cotton prices didn't move like the other crops.

"The cotton market didn't hardly move at all last year," Sewell said.

The market inclination is for cotton prices to go up and the market is expected to rebound in 2008. Cotton acres should also rebound in 2008, Sewell said.

Dry land cotton quality is up and so are acres planted. Irrigated cotton will produce less and the number of acres is down, Sewell said.

Like milo, cotton needs a hard freeze, 25 degrees would be good, so the plants will die and defoliate.

Cotton spraying began Saturday to defoliate the plants to improve color and leaf grades. Cotton has also been sprayed to open the bolls. Spraying won't kill the plant, it needs a freeze, Sewell.

The new Flex variety cotton is very popular with cotton farmers this year because the whole plant can be sprayed until one week before harvest.

Fall harvest always crosses the next year's wheat crop. Many farmers have put in more wheat acres than last year to take advantage of high wheat prices. Wheat fields look good across the county, Ploger said.

Recent moisture gave farmers the right amount of moisture for a good seedbed. There will be some double cropping after soybeans and corn. Wheat seed was an issue this fall because of the poor wheat harvest. Some farmers paid much higher prices for seed wheat.

"I think people were fortunate to get enough (wheat) back for seed," Ploger said.

Pratt Tribune