July 21, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman

Kentucky’s corn and soybean crops are showing promise of it being another bin-filling year, however the next few weeks will be critical in bringing that promise to fruition.

“The majority of the crop looks good at this point. We do have some acreage that was planted late or replanted that is behind,” said Jim Herbek, a grains crop specialist with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service . “Most of the corn crop has silked or is silking. Development is ahead of schedule due to an early start on planting. That along with ample moisture puts it in line to be a pretty good crop, although it is not made by any means.”

Soybeans also look good, he said. Some double-cropped beans were planted a little late because of the wet conditions that delayed wheat harvest. With the season we’ve been having recently, those beans are catching up.

The final results are weeks away and poor growing conditions for the next few weeks could limit the crop.

“We’ve got the remainder of July and all of August to go, which is a very critical period,” Herbek said. “Most of the grain fill in corn will be occurring during that time. If we have many days with temperatures above 90 and the rainfall slows down, then the crop could suffer. The hot temperatures and lack of moisture can cause the plant to slow down, resulting in the grain kernels not filling out adequately.”

The late soybeans need warm temperatures for growth, while earlier planted beans are beginning to set pods and need moisture and moderate temperatures for best pod fill.

Crops now need 1 to 1.5 inches of rain a week for optimum crop production. As the corn is filling grain kernels it uses about a quarter-inch of water per day. Although generally there is adequate soil moisture now and plants can draw on that, it has to be replenished to keep grain fill going.

Seventy-nine percent of Kentucky ’s corn crop is rated good to excellent based on information compiled by the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service. Eighty-two percent of the soybean crop is rated good to excellent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting record corn production at 10.6 billion bushels, up 521 million bushels from last year. The forecast also noted an expected drop in exports. Prices for corn are expected to range from $2.30 to $2.70 per bushel.

U.S. Soybean production is expected to be less than predicted a month earlier due to anticipated harvested acres and yield. The forecast price range for beans is $5.70 to $6.70 per bushel.



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Jim Herbek, 270-365-7541 ext. 205