Kentucky, Tennessee corn harvest behind schedule

Remnants of Hurricane Gustav moved through large portions of Kentucky and Tennessee last week, bringing some much needed rainfall to the two states. Double-cropped soybeans and pastures were the main beneficiaries.

In Kentucky, corn harvest was running 27 percent behind last year and 12 percent behind the long-time average.

The Tennessee corn harvest was also slowed by rainfall and was running a week behind normal.

Here’s how the state USDA/NASS field offices reported the overall crop situation for the two states for the week ending Sept. 7.


Remnants of Hurricane Gustav helped bring above normal rainfall to western portions of the Kentucky. Eastern portions of the Commonwealth saw below normal rainfall. Temperatures continued to be very warm with above normal temperatures being reported.

Topsoil moisture was rated as 43 percent very short, 37 percent short and 20 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture was rated 35 percent very short, 43 percent short and 22 percent adequate. There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Main farm activities for the week were cutting tobacco, cutting hay, and other general farm work.

Five percent of the corn crop was harvested. Last year it was 32 percent and 17 percent for the average. At 61 percent, maturity levels are still behind the 82 percent a year ago and the average of 68 percent. Eighty-five percent had reached the dent stage, behind last year’s 97 percent and 92 percent for the average. Ninety-nine percent had reached the dough stage or beyond. The crop was rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 25 percent excellent.

Farmers are reporting that soybean yields may be reduced because of the dry conditions. Soybean condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 37 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. Seven percent of soybeans have dropped leaves, compared to 17 percent last year and the five year average of 11 percent. About 21 percent of soybean leaves had turned yellow. Last year it was 35 percent and 27 percent for the average. About 92 percent of soybeans have set pods. It was 98 percent in 2007, with the average at 95 percent.

Fifty-seven percent of burley tobacco and 61 percent of the dark tobacco had been cut as of Sunday, Sept. 7. The five year average was 59 percent for burley tobacco and 52 percent for dark tobacco. Crop condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 44 percent good, and 18 percent excellent.

Pasture conditions continue to decline due to dry weather. Pastures were rated 21 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 16 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Hay crops were rated 16 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 19 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.


The remnants of Hurricane Gustav traveled into the middle and the western parts of the state last week bringing continued beneficial rains. Showers over the last two weeks have provided relief to drought stressed areas, especially to the double cropped soybeans and pastures. Nearly all of the soybean crop are filling and setting pods. Corn harvest was slowed slightly due to showers and is at a pace a week behind normal. The cotton crop also continues to develop behind last year's pace with a fourth of the crop with open bolls. Tobacco topping and harvest continued last week also. Other field activities during the past week included seeding forage crops, applying fungicides and insecticides, and finishing harvest of corn silage.

There were six days suitable for fieldwork. As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 14 percent very short, 35 percent short, 47 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 24 percent very short, 36 percent short, 39 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Temperatures averaged above normal across Middle and East Tennessee and below normal across the West. Rainfall amounts last week across Middle and East sections of the state averaged up to an inch below normal, while West Tennessee averaged slightly above normal.


"This week has brought a lot of moisture into Lauderdale County. The wet weather will push back the beginning corn shelling into next week. Cotton maturing has slowed with cooler than normal weather. Hay and pasture ground has received much needed rainfall, as stocks were getting low. The temperature and rainfall has helped the bean crop significantly." James Griffin, Lauderdale County

"The farmers in Fayette County had a mostly wet week. Some of our beans and milo have been harvested, but the rains have pretty much stopped harvest for the time being. It will help some of the double-cropped beans." Jeffery D. Via, Fayette County

"Back to back weeks of fairly generalized rainfall has helped forages and late soybeans. Corn harvest is in full swing with continued reports of poor to average yields." Calvin Bryant, Lawrence County

"Giles County received around one half inch of rainfall this week. Recent rains have really improved late planted soybeans. Pastures are looking good for this time of year. Many producers are getting second hay cuttings." Kevin Rose, Giles County

"Warm conditions, no rain for the week allowed farmers to get a lot done this past week. Combines will start in many fields next week." J. Dale Beaty, Warren County

"Soybeans planted after wheat are making good growth since the rains. The late soybeans are blooming and setting pods with an excellent chance for a good yield if an early frost doesn't get them. Livestock are looking good with the improvement in pastures. Producers took advantage of dry weather to work on late hay harvest, to house burley tobacco, to seed fall forage crops and to work toward completion of corn silage harvest. Early grain corn is mature and ready for harvest with some producers beginning to harvest." Bob Sliger, Monroe County

TAGS: Corn
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