Kentucky, Tennessee wheat growers harvesting big crop

Early reports from the wheat harvest in Kentucky and Tennessee showed some excellent yields, some so good combines were being slowed.

For the week ending June 15, the Kentucky harvest was roughly three percent complete as compared to 26 percent for last year and a five-year average of 18 percent. Yields have been positive although the moisture content has been running somewhat high.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, wheat growers were hard at work as dry conditions aided harvest efforts. Development was about five days behind normal with more than two-thirds of the acreage considered ripe.

Here’s how the two state USDA/NASS field offices reported the overall situation for the week ending June 15.


Most areas of Kentucky would like some additional rain, even though it’s been a very wet spring.

A few farmers are reporting issues with army worms and black shank in tobacco.

Precipitation for the week was slightly above normal for the fourth time in the last seven weeks and averaged 0.09 inches above normal.

Temperatures statewide averaged 76 degrees, 4 degrees above normal.

Topsoil moisture was rated as 3 percent very short, 23 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 10 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 3 percent very short, 14 percent short, 71 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus. There were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Many areas were replanting blank spots in corn fields.

Burley tobacco setting was 79 percent complete as of Sunday, June 15, compared with 89 percent for last year and the five-year average of 84 percent. Seventy-five percent of the dark tobacco had been set. Last year 94 percent had been set and the five- year average was 87 percent. About 82 percent of tobacco plants were under 12 inches high, with 16 percent 12-24 inches in height, and 2 percent were over 24 inches. The tobacco crop condition was reported as 5 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.

Corn condition was rated 4 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 26 percent excellent. Ninety-eight percent of the corn has emerged, compared to last year’s 99 percent and the five-year average of 96 percent. There were some reports of corn leaves rolling up in the mid-day heat.

As of Sunday, June 15, 71 percent of the single crop soybeans had been planted, behind the 89 percent reported last year and the five-year average of 76 percent. Fifty percent of the soybeans had emerged which was behind last year’s 84 percent and the five-year average of 66 percent. Soybean condition was rated 4 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 62 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. The average height of emerged soybeans was 4 inches, behind both last year and the five-year average of 5 inches.

Wheat harvest is just under way, with 3 percent of the crop harvested compared with 26 percent a year ago and the five-year average of 18 percent. Early reports are extremely positive about yields although the moisture content appears somewhat high.

Barley harvest was 50 percent complete compared with 84 percent last year and the five-year average of 74 percent.

About 65 percent of the sorghum acres had been planted as of Sunday, June 15 compared with 94 percent a year ago and the five-year average of 80 percent.

Pasture condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 11 percent excellent.


With six days considered suitable for fieldwork last week, Tennessee's wheat growers were hard at work, as dry conditions aided their harvest efforts. As of Sunday, development was about five days behind normal with over two-thirds of the acreage considered ripe.

Soybean drills followed closely behind wheat combines, as producers pressed to get their double-crop beans in the ground.

Over eighty percent of early planted soybeans had emerged with the crop rated in mostly good-to-excellent condition.

Tobacco growers also took advantage of last week's favorable weather. Almost 90 percent of the state's tobacco has been transplanted, on schedule with last year and the 5-year average.

The first cutting of hay was nearing completion with many areas reporting above average yields.

Home-grown tomatoes began ripening and were being sold at farmers markets.

As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 7 percent very short, 24 percent short, 65 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 7 percent very short, 20 percent short, 69 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Temperatures across the state last week were some 4 to 6 degrees above normal.

Precipitation averaged above normal in western portions of the state, near normal in the eastern, and below normal elsewhere


"Warm (hot) temperatures and drier weather have improved crop conditions and producers have used this window of opportunity to increase soybean seeding and begun wheat harvest. Windy conditions have ceased and post-emerge herbicide applications were resumed as a result. Wheat producers report good yields as harvest is beginning and will be in full swing next week. Precipitation fell early in the week with three tenths to a half inch reported. Hay producers should be assured of a good second cutting of hay with the current growing conditions." Jeff Lannom, Weakley County

"Wheat harvest should begin next week. Hay yields have been very good on both grass hay and alfalfa. Tobacco crop is off to a good start with very few problems other than normal insect pressure." Paul Hart, Robertson County

"Corn and soybeans are looking good so far. High temperatures and stiff winds have really dried the top soil. No rain in last 10-12 days in this area. Bad for crops, good for hay harvest." Dean Northcutt, Coffee County

"Hot weather has helped ripen and dry wheat, several producers were able to get harvest under way with early yield reports being phenomenal. Producers reported high yields and lodged wheat slowing harvest. Harvest will be in full swing this week. Hot weather had corn beginning to twist on thinner soils, early planted corn has tasseled with the majority of acres at V8-V12 stage, should see a lot of tassels this week, especially in fields with adequate moisture. The crop is in excellent condition. Soybean producers harvesting wheat were also busy planting beans. About 60 percent of the crop is planted, in areas with adequate moisture beans are emerging in 3-5 days. Cotton continues to thrive with the heat and especially in fields with good moisture. Hay producers continue to work around showers to gather in the first cutting, which is about 90 percednt complete." Ed Burns, Franklin County

"Area only received some widely scattered showers during the week ranging from 0.20 to 0.70 inch of rain. There were reports of widely scattered moderate wind damage from some localized heavy thunderstorms. There were reports of a few head of cattle being lost to lighting strikes. Wheat is very near ready to harvest with some producers reporting moderate lodging with some of their fields. Pastures are showing signs of drought stress and some livestock producers are having ponds begin to dry up. Producers made good progress with hay harvest during the week. However, re-growth is being slowed by lack of soil moisture. Corn and soybeans need moisture to continue normal growth." Bob Sliger, Monroe County.

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