May 14, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

Gone are the drenching rains that left some fields flooded and delayed planting and hay harvesting in others. But weather conditions remain less than ideal.

Chances of showers continue every few days for the next couple of weeks, making the drying a slow process.

The six-to-10-day outlook calls for below normal precipitation totals with the next couple of rounds of precipitation more in the form of showers instead of drenchers, said Corey Pieper, a meteorologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Ag Weather Center.

“But most of the state is pretty well above normal so any showers won’t be welcome,” he said.

The eight-to-14-day outlook calls for more normal conditions. Rainfall will be spotty in the coming weeks and not the daily rains the state has experienced in the past few weeks. Rainfall totals last week ranged from 5.48 inches in Lexington to 1.51 inches in Paducah.

Pieper said the forecast doesn’t call for any long periods or rain, but through the next couple of weeks conditions are not going to be completely dry.

Farmers have managed to plant an estimated 71 percent of the corn crop, above the five-year average, but soybean planting is lagging behind, according to estimates by the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service. Only 6 percent of the soybeans have been planted, which is 8 percent below average.

In Logan County, most of the corn is in the ground with the exception of some fields in the northern section, said Joanna Coles, Logan County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Few soybeans have been planted but most are double cropped behind wheat so they are several weeks away from planting.

With the past few days of dry weather, farmers have been concentrating on spraying corn and working tobacco ground. Some hay has been cut and there’s a great deal more that needs to be but it often takes a back burner to other crops, she said.

As hay matures it will lose quality and some of the alfalfa in the county needed to be cut a week ago, Coles said. But wet weather has prohibited the work.

“What’s going to happen is everyone is going to cut at once,” she said. If a farmer is paying for someone else to bale it, that may mean having to wait for hay to be baled.

Tobacco transplants began moving into the fields in some areas of western Kentucky at the beginning of the week, said Andy Bailey, UK Extension tobacco specialist.

Normally, tobacco producers like to begin setting the last week of April or first week of May. While they have been delayed somewhat, if conditions stay dry, a number of fields will be set by week’s end, he said.

Transplants are growing rapidly and because of the wet, humid conditions a number of diseases have popped up in floatbeds and greenhouses in the past two weeks, he said.



Corey Pieper, 859-257-3000 ext. 245; Andy Bailey, 270-365-7541 ext. 240; Joanna Coles, 270-726-6323