September 14, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson

With no significant precipitation in Kentucky since the remnants of Hurricane Katrina passed through two weeks ago, half the state remains in various stages of drought.

“The latest Palmer Drought Severity Index and the Crop Moisture Report show that the west climate zone is in a moist spell,” said Tom Priddy, UK College of Agriculture meteorologist.  “The west and central zones are in moist and incipient moist spells respectively, while the bluegrass and east zones are in mild and moderate hydrologic drought respectively.”

According the latest crop report from Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service, the topsoil moisture was 49 percent adequate, 3 percent surplus – leaving 48 percent short or very short.

As of Sept. 11, 15 percent of the corn crop had been harvested, down from 25 percent at this time last year. Corn crop condition was listed as 61 percent good or excellent and 39 percent fair, poor or very poor.

 The report indicates that late-August rainfall improved pod fill conditions for late-season soybeans.  The report also indicates that tobacco curing is going well but that some may be curing too fast.  Seventy-three percent of the burley crop was cut and 52 percent of dark tobacco was cut, compared to 68 percent for this time last year.

 “As expected, hay and pastures need rain to improve,” Priddy said. “Hay quality has probably been reduced because of the lack of timely rainfall.”

Only 26 percent of the 2005 hay crop was listed as good or excellent.  Pastures were rated 24 percent good and only 2 percent excellent.

 Priddy said the bluegrass zone still needs nearly 3 inches of rainfall to end hydrologic drought, and the east zone needs nearly 5 inches.  He said a cold front is expected by week’s end, which should bring relief from recent unseasonably dry and warm weather and also a possibility of much needed rainfall in many parts of Kentucky.

For drought information, visit the College of Agriculture’s Web site and click “drought information resources,” under “Hot Topics.”  For more in-depth weather information, visit the UK College of Agriculture Weather Center


Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Tom Priddy 859-257-3000, ext. 245