Kentucky corn crop still behind schedule

The Kentucky corn crop slipped a little this past week as hazy, hot and humid conditions continued. The crop was also running behind schedule. Conditions in Tennessee were somewhat better as corn continued to make good progress, with soybeans blooming and setting pods near the normal pace.

Here’s how the state USDA/NASS field offices reported the overall crop situation for the week ending July 27.


The traditional Kentucky summer of hazy, hot, and humid conditions continued last week with little to no wide spread rainfall. At this point all crops reflect the adequacy of local rainfall. The state needs a good soaking rain for continued crop development.

Topsoil moisture was rated as 16 percent very short, 47 percent short, 36 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 17 percent very short, 35 percent short, 47 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. There were 6 days suitable for fieldwork.

The majority of farm work last week included cutting hay, topping tobacco, and spraying crops for weeds and insects.

As of Sunday, July 27, the tobacco crop condition was reported as 6 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 18 percent excellent. About 13 percent of tobacco plants were under 24 inches tall, with 37 percent between 24-36 inches in height, and 50 percent were over 36 inches. Thirty percent of the burley tobacco was blooming or beyond, and 15 percent has been topped. Seventy percent of the dark tobacco was blooming or beyond, and 43 percent has been topped. Farmers were both spraying and topping their tobacco last week. The tobacco crop looks good overall but there were some reports of heavy worm infestations and black shank.

The corn condition has slipped a little because of the lack of rain. Corn was rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 26 percent excellent. Eighty-two percent of the corn has silked or was silking as of Sunday, July 27, behind both last year’s 90 percent and the five-year average of 88 percent. Forty-four percent of the corn was in milk stage or beyond, compared to 53 percent last year and the five-year average of 58 percent. Eighteen percent of the corn was in dough stage or beyond, compared to last year’s 29 percent and the five-year average of 29 percent.

As of Sunday, July 27, 48 percent of the soybeans were blooming, significantly behind last year’s 63 percent and the five-year average of 58 percent. Soybean condition declined slightly from last week with 2 percent rated very poor, 9 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 19 percent excellent..

Kentucky pastures and hay crops continue to look good, although they are declining in condition due to lack of rain. Pasture condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 2 percent excellent. Hay in the field was rated as 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.


Several upper level disturbances moved across the state last week bringing rounds of scattered showers and thunderstorms to many areas. This rainfall helped balance the hot temperatures which reached 100 degrees in some spots.

The state’s row crops remained in mostly good-to-fair condition, with tobacco showing the largest boost from the added moisture.

Corn development made good progress last week as nearly all of the acreage had reached or surpassed the silking stage.

Soybeans were blooming and setting pods near the normal pace. The recent showers provided timely moisture for the growth of double-cropped soybeans.

Nearly three quarters of the cotton crop was setting bolls, slightly ahead of the normal pace.

Tobacco growers have topped about a third of their crop and condition ratings increased slightly from the week earlier, although problems with black shank continued to surface.

Pastures were rated in mostly fair-to-good condition.

There were six days considered suitable for fieldwork last week. As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 15 percent very short, 44 percent short, and 41 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 23 percent very short, 41 percent short, and 36 percent adequate.

Temperatures across Tennessee last week averaged around normal to slightly above normal. Rainfall averaged mostly below normal across the state, except for a few locations.


“We are getting very dry. Spotty showers have occurred, but we need rain.” Becky Muller, Shelby County

“The farmers in Fayette County are still in need of more rain. Certain parts of the county received some this week, but as indicated more is needed. Cotton is blooming out the top in some fields and corn is maturing rapidly. Crops look fair to good, but need a rain.” Jeffery D. Via, Fayette County

“The county has received some rain in the form of isolated showers. Places that have gotten a few of those are still doing very well in terms of moisture; those that haven't are dry. We're not to the point we were in 2007, but hot sunny days with a steady dry wind dry the ground in a hurry.” Mitchell Mote, Rutherford County

“Scattered showers helped many over the weekend. Those that have had some rain have good crop prospects, those that haven't are looking at low yields in corn and soybeans. Some folks will have second cutting hay others won't. Farmer's Market full of produce, beans are in short supply.” J. Dale Beaty, Warren County

“The forecasted rainfall last week passed us by. We had a couple of spotty showers, but nothing significant. Things are getting critical with late corn and double-crop beans suffering greatly. Pastures have stayed green pretty well but will brown this week if rain doesn't come. On a good note, peach harvest is in full gear with excellent yields and quality. Apple growers are reporting a super crop on the trees, but they need rainfall with no hail — please!” Kim Frady, Bradley County

“Corn looks better now than it has in 2 years. Double-cropped soybeans are up and looking good. Early beans that looked like doom a couple weeks ago, have recovered. Rainfall has varied from 3 inches to .10 inch for the week. Showers have been spotty. There looks to be a second crop of hay in our future, although thin. I've had lots of vegetable issues, especially blossom end rot.” John J. Goddard, Loudon County

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.