September 29, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman

Dry conditions in the state have allowed farmers to get a jump on their corn harvest and the soybean harvest also was slowly moving forward. However, in an ironic twist, heavy rains in other parts of the United States sent the Ohio River spilling out into some grain fields in Kentucky causing flooding and crop damage.

Low-lying grain fields along the Ohio River in counties such as Henderson and Daviess had water creep into them, and sent farmers scrambling to get levies in place to reduce the potential damage. Within those two counties water crept into an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 and 4,000 acres, respectively. Other counties also have been hurt by water, while little more than a drop of rain has fallen in western Kentucky throughout September.

Most of these crops, primarily late-planted soybeans, will be harvestable but will suffer yield damage, said Clint Hardy, Daviess County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

The worst part is that for many of these same farmers, this is the second lost crop in these same fields in one year, he said. Thanks to an early spring, many of these fields had been planted in corn, only to be washed out due to flooding in late May and early June resulting in replanting in soybeans that aren’t yet ready for harvest. Had the corn crop not been flooded, these fields would have been harvested prior to last week’s flooding, Hardy noted.

Flooding wasn’t as severe as expected, thanks to the river cresting below the anticipated level and quickly dropping, said Mike Smith, Henderson County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

Smith said yield losses from water could be anywhere from 5 to 40 bushels per acre on beans that will be harvestable.

Elsewhere, Kentucky farmers are rapidly harvesting an expected 161.9-million-bushel corn crop and a 52.1-million-bushel soybean crop, according to the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service. This would be the second largest corn crop produced in the state and an estimated yield of 142 bushels per acre would equal the record set in 2001. More than half the crop has been harvested.

Hardy said Daviess County farmers have harvested about 60 percent of their corn acreage and the yield reports have been favorable with numerous accounts of 170 to 180 bushel per acre average farm yields.

Soybeans are expected to yield 41 bushels per acre, down two bushels from last year’s record-high level. Across the state and even within some counties, soybeans range from ready to harvest, to dropping leaves, to still green. Early planted soybeans are yielding well, while dry conditions in the west could hurt late planted and double cropped beans.



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Sources: Clint Hardy, 270-685-8480; Mike Smith, 270-826-8387