The 2008 soybean crop in Kentucky and Tennessee is running behind schedule. In Kentucky only eight percent of soybeans were blooming during the week ending July 6, significantly behind last year’s 20 percent and the five-year average of 21 percent.

In Tennessee, soybean development continued to lag behind last year and the five-year average.

In addition to soybean crop development, here’s how the state USDA/NASS field offices reported the overall situation in the two states for the week ending July 6.

Kentucky

Kentucky weather was practically picture perfect for wheat harvest last week being cooler and dry for most of the week. However, there is some apprehension about soil moisture levels and concern about the lack of rain for crop development.

Topsoil moisture was rated as 9 percent very short, 27 percent short, 61 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 8 percent very short, 25 percent short, 63 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. There were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork.

Farmers were busy this past week finishing small grain harvest, planting double-crop soybeans and cutting hay.

As of Sunday, July 6, the tobacco crop condition was reported as 4 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 51 percent good, and 19 percent excellent. About 46 percent of tobacco plants were under 12 inches high, with 36 percent 12-24 inches in height, and 18 percent were over 24 inches. Tobacco is doing well overall with no widespread disease problems and only a couple reports of hornworms.

Corn condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 22 percent excellent. Thirty-one percent of the corn has tasseled or is tasseling. Sixteen percent of the corn has silked or was silking as of Sunday, July 6, well behind both last year’s 62 percent and the five-year average of 59 percent. Lack of rain is becoming an increasing concern in central Kentucky and a few western counties. There were very few reports about insect or disease damage.

As of Sunday, July 6, single-crop soybean planting was virtually complete with 100 percent reported planted, tied with the 100 percent reported for both last year and the five-year average. Ninety-one percent of double-crop soybeans had been planted, slightly ahead of both last year and the average at 90 and 89 percent respectively. Eight percent of soybeans were blooming, significantly behind last year’s 20 percent and the five-year average of 21 percent. Ninety-four percent of the soybeans have emerged which was behind last year’s 100 percent, but ahead of the five-year average of 90 percent. The average height of emerged soybeans was 10 inches. Soybean condition was rated 2 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 56 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Some producers, especially in central and some western counties, are concerned that dry soils will slow crop development for emerged double-crop soybeans.

Wheat harvest is beginning to wind down with 93 percent of the crop harvested, ahead of the 89 percent harvested last year, but just behind the five-year average of 94 percent. Reporters are extremely positive about yields.

Pasture condition was rated 2 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 41 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. The condition of hay in the field was rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.

Tennessee

Dry weather conditions were the story across the state last week. Despite scattered showers and thunderstorms, crops need a good soaking rain.

Cotton excelled in the typical summertime weather as development doubled from the previous week. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of the crop was rated in mostly good-to-excellent condition.

Soybean development continued to lag behind last year and the 5-year average, with just under a quarter of the acreage blooming.

Corn made excellent progress compared to a week earlier, but was still a week behind the normal pace.

Tobacco transplanting was virtually completed last week.

Hay was rated in mostly fair-to-good condition, with cattle rated similarly. Other field activities last week included scouting crops, herbicide applications in soybeans, wheat harvesting, and hay cutting.

There were seven days considered suitable for fieldwork last week. As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 19 percent very short, 42 percent short, and 39 percent adequate. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 18 percent very short, 39 percent short, 42 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Temperatures across the state last week averaged near to slightly below normal. Precipitation averaged slightly below to below average last week.

COUNTY AGENT COMMENTS

"At this point, rainfall is becoming somewhat critical. We simply missed some expected rains over the weekend. Corn is beginning to show stress signs of twisting and is in need of rain, as well as all other crops. Pastures are in good condition at this time but, due to lack of rains, growth is slowing. All other cropping situations are normal for this time of year. Farmers are scouting crops and making essential applications of fungicides and insecticides. Small acreages of beans lack being planted behind wheat." J C Dupree Jr., Lauderdale County

"We missed the forecasted rain last weekend that could have set the stage for an excellent crop. Corn is suffering the most and some soybeans will need moisture before they can emerge. Cotton is beginning to bloom in limited fields." Tracey Sullivan, Haywood County

"The corn crop has really suffered this past week. Dry winds have hit just as most corn is tasseling." John Bartee, Montgomery County

"One and a half to two and a half inches of rain received this past week. This helped green up some fields and improved corn outlook. Some second cutting hay starting, especially johnsongrass fields. Plenty of spring hay is cut, rolled, and in the field, with people trying to sell." Scott Chadwell, Putnam County

"We had very little rainfall during the week. We are as much as eight inches below normal in part of the county. We are overall 4-6 inches behind for the entire area." Neal Denton, Knox County