Kentucky and Tennessee growers spent last week gathering corn and soybean crops that were cut a little short by dry weather during the growing season.
In Kentucky, 60 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, behind both last year’s 88 percent and 72 percent for the five-year average. Eighteen percent of the soybean crop had been harvested by week’s end.
In Tennessee, dry conditions persisted, allowing a complete week for field work. After being a week behind, corn harvest at the end of the week lagged only slightly behind the five-year average.
Here’s an overall assessment of the crop situation in the two states as provided by the USDA/NASS state field offices for the week ending Oct. 5.
Last week, much needed precipitation fell throughout parts of Kentucky. However, much more rainfall is needed to reach normal levels, as some areas received no measurable rainfall. As of Sunday, Oct. 5, topsoil moisture was rated as 69 percent very short, 27 percent short and 4 percent adequate.
Subsoil moisture was rated 64 percent very short, 27 percent short and 9 percent adequate. Rainfall totaled 0.22 inches, which was 0.53 inches below normal.
Temperatures for the week averaged 60 degrees, 2 degrees below normal and 10 degrees cooler than the previous week.
Main farm activities for the week were harvesting corn and soybeans. Fieldwork was possible for 6.6 days out of a total 7 days.
By Oct. 5, 60 percent of the corn had been harvested, behind both last year’s 88 percent and 72 percent for the five year average. The corn crop was rated 97 percent mature, equal to the five year average. The crop condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 35 percent good, and 22 percent excellent. Farmers reported that corn lodging has caused losses and is slowing the harvest.
As of Sunday, Oct. 5, 18 percent of soybeans were harvested, compared to 30 percent last year and 21 percent for the five year average. Eighty-one percent of soybeans have dropped leaves, compared to 87 percent last year and the five year average of 85 percent. Soybeans reaching the mature stage was at 53 percent, compared to last year’s 69 percent and 66 percent for the five year average. Soybean condition was rated 5 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 29 percent good, and 19 percent excellent.
The condition of housed tobacco was reported as 1 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. Three percent of tobacco had been stripped, 18 percent was ready for stripping and 79 percent was not ready for stripping. Conditions are too dry for curing, and some producers were applying moisture to bring tobacco into case.
Wheat seeding was proceeding slowly as many farmers continued to wait for additional rainfall to improve germination. Seeding of wheat was rated at 6 percent, behind last year’s 10 percent and 12 percent for the five year average.
Producers report they have begun feeding hay due to poor pasture conditions. Hay stocks for the winter are a growing concern for some areas. Pastures were rated 47 percent very poor, 33 percent poor, 16 percent fair, and 4 percent good.
Dry conditions persisted across the state last week, allowing a complete week open for fieldwork. Corn, cotton, and soybean harvest made excellent progress, but winter wheat and pasture seedings were slowed due to the lack of rainfall.
After being a week behind, corn harvest at week's end lagged only slightly behind the 5-year average.
Cotton farmers also took advantage of this past week's dry weather with defoliation and harvest under way.
Soybean harvest was almost a fourth completed by week's end, with the crop being rated in mostly fair-to-good condition.
Fall seeded crops, pastures and hay fields are all suffering from the lack of rainfall. Pastures continued to be rated in mostly poor condition.
As of Friday, Oct. 3, topsoil moisture levels were rated 39 percent very short, 45 percent short, and 16 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 40 percent very short, 41 percent short, and 19 percent adequate.
Temperatures for the week were above normal despite the mid-week cool down. Rainfall was well below normal across all of Tennessee.
COUNTY AGENT COMMENTS
"It continues to be extremely dry. Corn and soybean harvest is progressing really well this week. Saw cotton modules sitting in a field today. Cotton looking like it is going to turn out better than first thought. No reports on cotton yields as of this date." Tim Campbell, Dyer County
"Producers are quickly completing corn harvest and soybean harvest is picking up speed every day. Soybean yields are running in the 25–35 bushel range. Dry soil moisture conditions have put wheat seeding on hold as producers wait for much needed precipitation. Seeding of pasture and hay fields have also not gotten out of the gate due to excessively dry soil conditions." Jeff Lannom, Weakley County
"Extremely dry conditions have pastures in decline. Many producers are feeding hay. Late soybeans that once looked good are losing yield potential. Water in small ponds and streams is getting low, reminding producers of the drought in 2007. Producers are waiting for moisture before planting wheat." Calvin Bryant, Lawrence County
"Pastures drying up fast now. No significant rainfall for Giles County in over a month. Corn yields have been fair to good. Soybean yields so far are lower than average. Corn yields under irrigation are being reported at 100 to 125 bushels, higher than the corn just outside of irrigation area." Kevin Rose, Giles County
"Dry weather continues to persist, following the driest September on record. Corn harvest is winding down, dry conditions and low humidity have allowed combines to run as early and late in the day as producers wish. Soybean producers are shifting to beans. The lack of rain has dashed hopes of double-crop bean yields. Cotton harvest efforts stepped up this week with about 90 percent of the bolls open and 60 percent of the crop defoliated. Pastures and hay are slowly drying up due to lack of water. The lack of rain is hampering tall fescue growth, and forcing producers to begin feeding hay. Fall hay harvest has been very short. The lack of water is also affecting pond levels and stream flow." Ed Burns, Franklin County
"We need a significant rain event to supply the moisture needed for winter wheat planting. Corn harvest is almost completed with yields ranging from poor to fair. Wheat beans need moisture soon to fill pods. Apples are numerous, but small in size due to dry weather with many quality problems being reported by orchards." Mannie Bedwell, Hamblen County