Kentucky, Tennessee growers make harvest progress

Dry weather continued over Kentucky and Tennessee last week, allowing crop harvest to move ahead quickly.

In Kentucky, the main farm activities for the week were harvesting corn, soybeans and tobacco and cutting hay.

Tennessee producers made good harvest progress, with two-thirds of the corn already out of the field. Harvest of soybeans had started on a limited basis.

Here’s an overall look at the situation as reported by the USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Sept. 28.


Dry conditions continued throughout the Commonwealth last week. As of Sunday, Sept. 28, topsoil moisture was rated as 65 percent very short, 28 percent short and 7 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated 60 percent very short, 31 percent short and 9 percent adequate. Rainfall totaled 0.0 inches, which was 0.80 inches below normal.

Temperatures for the week averaged 70 degrees, 5 degrees above normal and 3 degrees warmer than the previous week.

Main farm activities for the week were harvesting corn and soybeans, cutting hay and harvesting tobacco. Fieldwork was possible for 6.6 days out of a total 7 days.

Corn grain and silage harvest continued, but remained behind normal. By Sept. 28, 38 percent of the corn had been harvested, compared to last year’s 78 percent and 58 percent for the five year average. At 93 percent, maturity levels are still behind the 99 percent a year ago and the five-year average of 95 percent. Virtually all the corn crop had reached the dent stage. The crop was rated 3 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 18 percent excellent.

Farmers began harvesting their soybean crop. Seven percent of the soybeans were harvested, compared to 17 percent last year and 11 percent for the five year average. Sixty-four percent of soybeans have dropped leaves, compared to 76 percent last year and the five-year average of 70 percent. About 37 percent of the soybean crop had matured, compared to last year’s 50 percent and 46 percent for the five year average. Soybean condition was rated 8 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 24 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. Farmers reported 78 percent of the soybean crop was safe from frost damage.

The tobacco harvest continued to progress. Ninety-one percent of burley tobacco had been cut as of Sunday, Sept. 28, even with last year, and ahead of the five year average of 89 percent. Eighty-four percent of the dark tobacco had been cut, behind last year’s 95 percent and the five year average of 88 percent. Two percent of the tobacco crop had been stripped, 11 percent was ready for stripping, and 87 percent was not ready. Housed crop condition was rated 2 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 48 percent good, and 11 percent excellent.

Wheat seeding has begun with farmers reporting 4 percent of the crop seeded. Many farmers continued to wait for improved moisture for germination before planting fall grains. Farmers continued to report poor conditions for pastures and hay crops due to dry weather. Pastures were rated 42 percent very poor, 35 percent poor, 17 percent fair, and 6 percent good.


The weather this past week across Tennessee was mostly dry allowing for all seven days to be suitable for fieldwork. Producers took advantage of this by making good harvest progress. Virtually all the corn crop is mature with two-thirds of it harvested. Nearly half of the cotton crop has been defoliated and picking has begun. Soybean development continued to lag behind normal with over half of crop dropping leaves. Harvest of the soybean crop has started on a limited basis.

The lack of rainfall continues to have a negative impact on pastures as almost half of the state's acreage was rated in poor-to-very poor condition.

As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 31 percent very short, 42 percent short, and 27 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 34 percent very short, 39 percent short, and 27 percent adequate.

Temperatures were near normal across East Tennessee and above normal across the remainder of the state. Rainfall was well below normal across all of Tennessee.


"Harvesting is well under way. Corn yield has been across the board depending on rainfall throughout the growing season. Cooler weather had kept us out of the fields, but with slightly warmer weather the maturing process has moved along. The main two activities have been shelling corn and spraying cotton defoliant. Next week will be the start of cotton picking for some and for others finishing up harvesting corn." James Griffin, Lauderdale County

"Grain harvest is in full swing and cotton defoliation is not far behind. Early yields have been a bit lower than expected for cotton, but should range from 600-1,200 pounds depending on location of summer rainfall. It will take a significant rain event to supply the moisture needed for winter wheat planting." Tracey Sullivan, Haywood County

"We are still waiting on the rain. Pastures are VERY dry!" Laurie Mobley, Houston County

"Davidson County is currently experiencing a moderate drought condition due to the lack of adequate rainfall over the last month. We are now entering the month of October, which is usually our driest month of the year." David Cook, Davidson County

"Continued dry weather is making for excellent harvest conditions, but hampering fall planting intentions! Corn harvest is in high gear with yields from 40 to 240 bushels per acre being reported with 80 to 120 being the most common yields reported. Wheat beans are in need of more moisture to help fill pods. Cotton producers continue to apply defoliants, with very limited harvest activity. Pastures are in need of water, most producers grazing fall hay. Most producers reporting adequate hay stocks provided they do not have to start feeding this fall." Ed Burns, Franklin County

"The drought is showing effects in all aspects of farming now. Second and third hay cutting is 95percent complete. Hay was short and thin. Pastures are dried up and some are feeding hay now. Pond and stream water levels are very low. Corn harvest is near completion. We need rain!" John J. Goddard, Loudon County

TAGS: Corn
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