April 20, 2005 | By: Laura Skillman

Thanks to good weather conditions in recent days, corn planters can be seen throughout the fields of Kentucky, rapidly getting this year’s crop into the ground.

As of April 16, the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service estimated that 20 percent of the corn was planted in the state, well behind last year’s 55 percent at this time and below the five-year average of 35 percent. Progress varies widely from county to county, with some reporting well over half the acreage planted while others are only beginning.

In Union County, the state’s largest corn producer, farmers have been planting since mid-March. Some have used a special coated seed that allows it to germinate later when the soil temperature increases. Others are using traditional corn hybrids, said Rankin Powell, Union County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

“We’ve got some that’s already 4 to 6 inches tall,” he said. “We’ve seen where the earlier we plant, the better the yields. We’re probably more than 60 to 65 percent done. We had three good days last week and five good days again this week. With 16-row and 24-row planters, you can get across a lot of ground with that.”

In Logan County, most of the southern section is planted, while in the northern and wetter area planting still is under way.

“We are probably behind some, but last year at this time we had farmers having to replant several hundred acres of corn because of water and cool nights damaging the crop,” 
said Chris Milam, Logan County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. “When you get behind, with all the equipment we have today, it doesn’t take long to catch up.”

In Hardin County farmers are slower to get into the fields than in more southern and western areas of the state. Generally, most farmers target about April 10 and try to get it planted within the next two-week period, said Rod Grusy, Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. 

In recent years farmers had begun planting earlier, but after two years of damage due to late freezes producers have moved back to their more traditional planting dates. 

“Farmers are really getting with it this week, and the ground is warm enough for quick emergence,” he said.

Overall, Kentucky farmers are expected to plant 1.29 million acres of corn this year, an increase of 80,000 acres from 2004 and the largest planted acreage in five years, according to the statistics service.


Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278

Contacts: Rankin Powell, 270-389-1400
Chris Milam, 270-726-6323
Rod Grusy, 270-765-4121