Kentucky corn harvest behind schedule

Corn harvest continued in Kentucky this past week, but remained behind schedule despite dry conditions. By Sept. 21, 22 percent of the corn had been harvested. Last year it was 64 percent and 44 percent for the average.

Kentucky farmers were also reporting that soybean yields, both full-season and double-crop, may be reduced because of the dry conditions.

In Tennessee, more than half the state’s soybean acreage is dropping leaves, with development in line with normal. Almost half the state’s corn crop has been harvested, with variable yields being reported.

For a complete rundown of the cropping situation in the two-state area here are the weekly crop progress reports from the USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Sept. 21.


Dry weather continues as below normal rainfall was received in the state for the 6th time in 7 weeks. Topsoil moisture was rated as 58 percent very short, 34 percent short and 8 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated 53 percent very short, 37 percent short and 10 percent adequate. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork.

Main farm activities for the week were harvesting corn, cutting hay and harvesting tobacco.

Corn for grain and silage harvest continued, but remained behind normal. By Sept. 21, 22 percent of the corn had been harvested. Last year it was 64 percent and 44 percent for the average. Some producers are reporting lodging in corn fields because of wind damage from the previous week. At 84 percent, maturity levels are still behind the 97 percent a year ago and the average of 90 percent. Ninety-nine percent had reached the dent stage. The crop was rated 2 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 36 percent good, and 21 percent excellent.

Farmers are continuing to report that soybean yields, both full-season and double-crop, may be reduced because of the dry conditions. Some farmers also reported damage to their soybeans due to the wind storm from the previous week. Soybean condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 18 percent excellent. Forty-three percent of soybeans have dropped leaves, compared to 65 percent last year and the five year average of 45 percent. About 20 percent of the soybean crop had matured. Last year it was 31 percent and 24 percent for the average.

Tobacco harvest continues to progress. Eighty percent of burley tobacco and 74 percent of the dark tobacco had been cut as of Sunday, Sept. 21. The five year average was 82 percent for burley tobacco and 78 percent for dark tobacco. Housed crop condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 16 percent excellent. Damage is being reported to barns and standing tobacco due to the high winds of Hurricane Ike.

Pasture and hay conditions continue to deteriorate due to extreme dry weather. Pastures were rated 29 percent very poor, 34 percent poor, 28 percent fair, and 9 percent good.


With six days suitable for fieldwork, corn and tobacco growers made progress with harvest activities. Almost half of the corn crop has been harvested with variable yields reported. Mostly dry weather this past week also aided tobacco farmers and allowed cutting to continue unabated.

Over half of the state's soybean acreage is dropping leaves with development in line with normal. Cotton defoliation is under way with over three-fourths of the acreage with open bolls.

Other field activities this past week included corn silage harvest and cutting of hay.

As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 22 percent very short, 40 percent short, and 38 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 30 percent very short, 36 percent short, and 34 percent adequate.

Temperatures across the state last week were a little above normal in the east, near normal across the Plateau, and about 1 to 3 degrees below normal in all other areas.

Rainfall amounts were below normal across the entire state.


"Corn harvest progressing as rapidly as dry-down will allow. Producers experiencing some problems with corn moisture levels due to weather conditions that have not been good for drying conditions. Cotton defoliation has begun but not aware of any harvested yet in Dyer County. Early maturity soybeans are beginning to be harvested with no reports of yields as of yet. Corn yields are ranging from 80 to 200 bushels depending on whether location got rainfall when needed." Tim Campbell, Dyer County

"Excellent harvest weather has aided producers in corn harvest, but the remnants of Hurricane Ike put several acres of corn on the ground due to high wind damage. Combines have to run much slower in order to harvest 'down' corn. Harvest of early maturing soybeans has begun and some acreage of hay was baled this week as well." Jeff Lannom, Weakley County

"Great weather for the tobacco harvest this week." Joseph Griffy, Stewart County

"Harvest is coming along great because we are having no rain. We are dry." Larry Moorehead, Moore County

"A month without rain has hurt everything. Waiting on rain to continue fall seeding. Harvest progressing at good speed with results varying across county." J. Dale Beaty, Warren County

"Another week without rain has pastures, late hay, soybeans after wheat all suffering. Available water for livestock is a growing concern for producers. Fall seeding is at near standstill because of the lack of moisture. Producers are beginning to harvest corn for grain with yields reported to be running from 90 to 150 bushels per acre." Bob Sliger, Monroe County

TAGS: Corn
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