Cotton, once again, is the bright spot in the Kansas fall crop picture, holding in there at 28% good to excellent and 50% fair.
"We have probably half the bolls set and we're going to have a cotton harvest. How good it will turn out if this heat wave continues with no rain may be in question. But we'll harvest cotton," says Gary Feist at the Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Association.
While 28% of a crop in good to excellent condition may seem pretty low, it looks good when compared to corn at 1% excellent and 9% good, or soybeans at 0% excellent and 7% good or even drought-tolerant sorghum at 1% excellent and 9% good.
Even sunflowers, about a third of which are now blooming, have suffered from the heat and drought and the latest Kansas Agricultural Statistics Report puts the crop at 12% good and 1% excellent.
On this, the last day of July, Kansas is bracing for another day of record-breaking heat, with highs in Wichita forecast to hit 111 degrees for the third day in a row. Total rainfall for the month of July, which has seen only one day with a high of less than 95 degrees, has been 0.26 inches in Wichita.
June closed out with 7 days in a row of triple-digit heat as well and total rainfall since June 1 in Wichita stands at 2.81 inches.
Weather forecasters are expecting the triple digit heat to continue to the weekend, with a cool down to the upper 90s for a couple of days over the weekend. By mid-week, they say, heat will return with a vengeance, pushing temperatures back to the 105 to 110-degree range.
The picture does not get a lot better looking down the road. The U.S. Drought Monitor forecast for August through October 31 shows persistent or worsening drought, not just in Kansas but across the Midwest.