Drought reduces Kentucky crop yields

Nov. 1 crop prospects in Kentucky were hurt by the dry, hot summer according to the state Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Corn yields improved as farmers harvested their crop and measured their production while soybean yields declined slightly.

Corn for grain production by Kentucky farmers was forecast at 175.4 million bushels, up 4 percent from the Oct. 1 estimate and 16 percent from the 2006 crop. Production was up due to the increase in harvested for grain acreage as yield was down. Yield at 129 bushels per acre was up 5 bushels from October while down 17 bushels from last year’s crop.

Yields varied greatly from county to county and within a county.

As of Nov. 4, 99 percent of the corn for grain had been harvested. This was ahead of 93 percent for 2006 and 96 percent for the five year average.

A generally dry fall provided good harvesting conditions.

Soybean production by Kentucky farmers was forecast at 29 million bushels, down 4 percent from the Oct. 1 estimate and 52 percent from the large 2006 crop. The smaller production resulted from both reduced acreage and lower yield.

Yield was estimated at 27 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from October. The 2007 soybean yield was 17 bushels below last year’s yield of 44 bushels that equaled the record in 2004. This year’s yields were down due to the dry summer and varied greatly across the state depending on rainfall received and when it rained.

Harvesting of the crop was 84 percent complete on Nov. 4. This was well ahead of last year’s 64 percent and the five year average of 69 percent. The relatively dry fall has been beneficial to soybean harvesting.

U.S. soybean production was forecast at 2.59 billion bushels, down slightly from the October forecast and down 19 percent from last year’s record high. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields were expected to average 41.3 bushels per acre, down 0.1 bushel from last month and down 1.4 bushels from last year.

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