Soybean growers in Kentucky and Tennessee have hopes of seeing some good yields come harvest time, even though some double-crop beans will need timely rainfall to adequately fill pods.

In Kentucky, 78 percent of the soybean crop was blooming and even though that was behind last year’s pace it was still slightly ahead of the five-year average.

In Tennessee, soybean development trailed closely behind the normal pace and the crop was rated in mostly good-to-fair condition.

For an overall assessment of the crop situation in the two states, here are the reports from the state USDA/NASS field offices for the week ending Aug. 10.

Kentucky

Kentucky had beautiful and much more comfortable weather last week, a welcome break from heat and high humidity.

However, minimal rainfall was received and was scattered across the state. Topsoil moisture was rated as 11 percent very short, 36 percent short, 52 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 14 percent very short, 35 percent short and 51 percent adequate. There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork.

Farm activities last week included topping, cutting or preparing to cut tobacco and other general farm work.

Tobacco condition is mostly fair to excellent with 1 percent rated very poor, 6 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 52 percent good, and 18 percent excellent. There were still reports of black shank in some fields and reports of worms. As of Sunday, Aug. 10, 45 percent of the burley had been topped, compared to 60 percent for a year ago and the five year average of 55 percent. Harvest is just beginning with 3 percent of burley tobacco cut, compared to 7 percent cut last year and 6 percent for the average. Seventy-five percent of the dark tobacco has been topped, compared to 82 percent last year and the average of 77 percent.

Corn condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 18 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 33 percent excellent. Ninety-seven percent of the corn has silked or was silking as of Sunday, Aug. 10, behind both last year and the average of 99 percent. Seventy-seven percent of the corn was in the milk stage or beyond, compared to 83 percent a year ago and the five year average of 84 percent. Half the crop was in the dough stage or beyond, behind last year’s 66 percent and the five year average of 63 percent. Eighteen percent of the corn acreage was in the dent stage, compared to 42 percent for the previous year and the five year average of 39 percent.

Soybean condition improved where rains were received and the crop was rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 25 percent excellent. As of Sunday, Aug. 10, 78 percent of soybeans were blooming, behind last year’s 88 percent, but slightly ahead of the five year average of 77 percent. Forty-one percent of the soybeans were setting pods, behind last year’s 66 percent and the five year average of 54 percent. Although some rain was received, some areas are still very dry and producers of double-crop beans are especially concerned about pod fill.

Hay remains in mostly fair to good condition, with 4 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 42 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Pasture condition improved somewhat over the past week and was rated 4 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 43 percent good, and 5 percent excellent.

Tennessee

With only scattered rainfall and high temperatures this past week, farmers across the state need rain for both crops and pastures.

Topping of tobacco made good progress last week, while harvest got under way on a limited basis.

Currently, almost all of the cotton crop is setting bolls and is in mostly good condition.

Soybean development trailed closely behind the normal pace and the crop was rated in mostly good-to-fair condition.

Although over half of the corn crop has entered the dent stage, development trailed the normal pace by nearly a week. Over a quarter of the acreage used as silage has been harvested.

Pasture conditions deteriorated slightly last week, but continued to be rated mostly fair-to-good.

There were six days considered suitable for fieldwork last week. As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 18 percent very short, 39 percent short, 42 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 26 percent very short, 39 percent short, 34 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Temperatures across Tennessee last week averaged near normal with average highs ranging from the mid 80s to lower 90s.

Weekly precipitation totals averaged around one-tenth of an inch across the middle and eastern thirds of the state with as much as two inches or more reported at some west Tennessee locations.

COUNTY AGENT COMMENTS

"Corn is beginning to show signs of maturing, particularly in drought stressed areas of fields. Early maturing varieties are beginning to fire up on lower leaves. Early planted soybeans are looking relatively good in spite of short rainfall conditions. Many early planted beans are at fungicide application stage or beyond. Insect pressure in beans remains relatively light. Wheat beans are suffering from lack of moisture, resulting in poor stands and poor growth. Beans cover wheat straw where moisture has been good and are still struggling to rise above straw in drought stricken areas of fields. All crops are beginning to show stronger signs of drought stress in all situations especially in weaker areas of fields. Crops under irrigation are looking good. What we need the most at this point is a good soaking rain." Tim Campbell, Dyer County

"The farmers in Fayette County were blessed with some rain later in the week but before this, conditions were hot and humid. Temperatures were in the upper 90s and lower 100s. Crops are in fair to good condition. Farmers were spraying beans and cutting hay." Jeffery D. Via, Fayette County

"1.5 to 3 inches of rain over the county have refreshed crops and grazing. Producers have a different outlook, compared with two days ago." Ken Burress, Wayne County

"As location is important in the housing market, so it is in terms of rainfall received in Rutherford County. Yesterday (8-7-08) some rain gauges measured up to 1.5 inches of rain where others didn't register any. Some areas are in pretty good shape moisture wise and others aren't." Mitchell Mote, Rutherford County

"A week of high temperatures and no rain has all crops, both forage and row crops, showing drought stress. Pasture and hay fields were drying out fast toward the end of the week. Some producers have started harvesting corn silage from early planted fields. Producers took advantage of good drying conditions to make excellent progress with second cutting hay harvest. Generally, cattle are in good condition with adequate grazing available." Bob Sliger, Monroe County