Kentucky, Tennessee wheat crop at maturity

The 2008 wheat crop in Kentucky and Tennessee is nearing maturity, with harvest expected in a few days. Excellent yields are expected in Kentucky, while the Tennessee crop has experienced some setbacks due to weather, insects and diseases.

Corn planting in nearing completion, while seeding of soybeans is making rapid progress.

Here’s how the situation stacked up for the week ending June 8 as reported by the two state USDA/NASS field offices.


Unseasonably warm temperatures arrived over the weekend pushing average temperatures from 6 to 11 degrees above normal. Rainfall amounts were below normal and ranged from none to 4.3 inches with an average of .72 inches statewide.

Some river bottoms have experienced flooding. Heavy rains over the weekend north of the Ohio River may cause additional crop loss as water levels rise.

Days suitable for fieldwork averaged 5.4 out of a possible seven. High temperatures at the end of the week stressed young corn and tobacco plants. Topsoil moisture was rated 1 percent very short, 19 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture was rated 2 percent very short, 11 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Major farm activities included putting up hay, planting soybeans, and setting tobacco.

Corn planting reached 98 percent complete by Sunday, June 8. This is equal to the five year average and slightly behind last year. About 93 percent of the planted acreage had emerged, compared with 98 percent a year ago and the average of 95 percent. Emerged corn was in fair to excellent condition, with 5 percent rated poor, 18 percent fair, 61 percent good and 16 percent excellent.

Height of the most advanced fields averaged 25 inches statewide, while average height of emerged corn was 15 inches. Some reports of armyworm infestations have been received.

Soybean planting made good progress during the week, but remains behind last year and average. Fifty-eight percent was seeded by Sunday June 8, compared with 85 percent last year and the five year average of 69 percent. Thirty-six percent of planted acreage had emerged, compared with last year’s 73 percent and the average of 55. Condition of emerged soybeans was rated 3 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 11 percent excellent.

High temperatures have stressed tobacco transplants and have slowed plant growth. Transplanting progressed well with 69 percent of the intended burley acreage set as of Sunday June 8, compared with 84 percent a year ago and the average of 74 percent.

Dark tobacco acreage was 60 percent set, compared with 81 percent last year and the average of 76. Condition of set tobacco was reported as 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 55 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.

About 90 percent of tobacco plants were less than 12 inches high with 10 percent 12-24 inches in height.

Barley harvest was 33 percent complete at the end of the week, slightly behind last year’s 44 percent and the average of 49. Most producers expect a good quality crop.

Wheat harvest is expected to begin the week of June 15, although continued warm weather may move up the harvesting date. Some reported wheat was turning color. Head scab and blight may affect yield and test weight and armyworms were a problem in a few areas.

Most expectations are for excellent yields on wheat. Condition was reported as 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 53 percent good and 24 percent excellent.

Rain in northeast areas made hay harvest difficult but conditions improved toward the end of the week for making hay. Pastures were in mostly fair to good condition and were rated 2 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 50 percent good and 13 percent excellent.

Grain sorghum planting advanced to 50 percent complete, well behind last year and the average.


Soybean producers made excellent progress last week and have planted most of their full season beans and are waiting for wheat harvest to plant the remainder of the crop. Although development is a week behind last year's early planted crop, over three-fourths of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

As of Sunday, 98 percent of the cotton acreage had been planted with the crop rated as mostly good.

One-fourth of the states' tobacco acreage remains to be transplanted, only slightly behind last year and the 5-year average.

Wheat has begun to ripen with the start of harvest to begin this week. Almost three-fourths of the wheat crop has experienced some insect or disease damage. Cutworms continued to be a problem in most crops across the state.

In addition, armyworms caused problems in some corn fields and isolated cicada damage was reported in the eastern part of the state.

The other main agricultural activities last week were harvesting hay, applying chemicals, and fly prevention on livestock. There were 6 days considered suitable for fieldwork last week.

As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 5 percent very short, 14 percent short, 76 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus.

Temperatures across the state last week were some 6 to 8 degrees above normal, while precipitation averaged well below normal.


"All crops progressing well at this time. There has been plenty of moisture, but crops still recovering from stunted growth from cool conditions the last 2 or 3 weeks. Producers busy trying to catch up on spraying weeds and trying to get soybeans planted that aren't going to be behind wheat. Some soybean acres are experiencing poor stand problems primarily due to cold, wet soil areas in fields from soybean seedling diseases. We are experiencing some dicamba herbicide injury in some situations in soybeans. We have also had more problems with black cutworms in all crops including soybeans due to our prolonged cool, wet soil conditions, particularly in no-till situations." Tim Campbell, Dyer County

"Eight inches of rain that we received last week has begun to dry up this week! Tennessee River flooded about 500 acres of corn and soybeans last week. Hay harvest is going fast this week, with very good yields. Some tractors have been stuck in hay fields, but it is getting cut. The 500 acres will have to be replanted. Horn flies counts on cattle are over 2,000 per head." Steve Glass, Decatur County

"Hay cutting moved along great last week and our yields are great compared to last year. Wheat is about ready to combine and is looking good. We've been a week without rain and if we don't get some soon we will suffer soon. We don't have any subsoil moisture to use." Larry Moorehead, Moore County

"Wheat is mature and harvest should be well under way this next week. Corn is looking good. For early planted soybeans, emergence has been good with some insect issues. On tall fescue hayfields, many have gotten their first cutting. For those who over-seeded bermudagrass hayfields with ryegrass, a first cutting has been taken with a couple of producers getting ready to get their second cutting." Matt Webb, Marion County

"Drying conditions have been favorable for haying activities this week. Early harvest indications point to a less than normal yield, largely due to drought related forage decline in stands." John Wilson, Blount County

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