Recent rains have improved the chances for a decent — if not great — soybean harvest in Cherokee County.

According to Machelle Shouse, of Farmer’s Coop, things are looking much better for area farmers than they were just two weeks ago.

“(The beans) are going to do better than if we hadn’t gotten rain the last couple weeks,” she said. “The stuff that was waiting on rain has gone ahead and filled out.”

Shouse said the beans which are currently blooming may be running out of time, however.

She said an early frost could be an issue for those plants.

“We need the frost to hold off three weeks or a month,” Shouse said.

She said farmers are probably looking at 15-25 bushels per acre where a normal harvest would be more like 25-35 bushel beans.

“We won’t have a normal harvest, but we’ll have some bushels,” Shouse said. “If it had not been for the last couple rains it would have been far worse.”

While they have gotten a few loads of beans, she said she expects the harvest to start in earnest in about three weeks.

More rain is forecast this week and National Weather Service Meteorologist Doug Cramer said it could mean a lowering of the drought classification in the area.

Currently Southeast Kansas is under “extreme drought” conditions, but two to three inches of rain could see that dropped to “severe drought.”

“You guys are still in a drought,” he said. “The good news is between now and Friday there are rain chances every day so hopefully it will improve those drought conditions even more.”

Kramer said the forecast for Cherokee County is from one to two-and-a-half inches by the end of the week.