Producers have mixed emotions about corn and soybean harvest

A combine in the midst of corn harvest PHOTO: Matt Barton

It looks like the Kentucky corn harvest may produce record, or very close to state record yields, according to Chad Lee, grain crops specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“We should be close to 170 bushels per acre for the statewide average,” Lee said. “That is a phenomenal yield for Kentucky. Some growers are very excited, while others are disappointed with yields that are not as high as expected, still above average, but not as high,” said Lee.

Lee said corn stalks are weak for this year’s harvest, but things could be worse. Kentucky dodged a bullet when a hurricane that hit the Carolinas, bringing with it copious amounts of rain and strong winds, didn’t come further inland. The forecast for the rest of the harvest season appears to be excellent.

“There is still a fair amount of corn in the field, about 79 percent or more of the corn is harvested, which is right on track with our five-year average,” said Lee.

About 38 percent of the soybean harvest is in and is a little bit ahead of the five-year average at this time of year. Lee said yields for anything that was later developing are lower than originally estimated.

“Soybean yields appear to have been damaged from dry weather late in the season,” said Lee. “The wet weather this summer, combined with cooler temperatures, set Kentucky up for what should be an excellent corn crop. But the drier weather recently will likely hurt soybean yields.”

July was the wettest July on record for Kentucky, with almost 9 inches of rain.The last week of August and first week of September had warmer weather and inadequate rainfall to keep up with the temperatures and crop demand.

In September, Kentucky farmers were poised to have the state’s largest soybean crop on record, but that was before some extremely dry weather to finish the crop down the stretch.

“We only go through seed fill for about 30 days, and if you get dry at the wrong 30-day period, that will put a damper on your yields,” Lee said.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast was for 92 million bushels of soybeans in Kentucky, and the corn yield at 224 million bushels.

Press release courtesy of UK CAFE.

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