October 10, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

Combines are moving through corn fields across the state harvesting a high yielding crop.

"It's really going to be good," said Lloyd Murdock, UK Extension agronomist. "By and large, 1992 and 1994 were extremely good years for corn, and this will probably rival that or exceed it. I've heard about more yields over 200 bushels this year."

Some farmers are reporting this to be the best overall corn crop they've ever had, said James Herbek, UK Extension agronomist.

The crop reporting service is estimating a 130-bushel per acre average in Kentucky, but Herbek said he suspects it may edge toward the 1992 state record of 132 bushels per acre.

"We're looking at one of our best crops," he said.

Ohio County farmer Darren Luttrell said his 1,500 acres of corn will not meet last year's yields on his farm which averaged about 180 bushels per acre. He said his county, unlike others to the south, saw near perfect conditions in 2000. But 2001 also is proving to be a good year and will be among the highest.

"We're going to be way above our five-year average," he said.

The harvest has gone well, with farmers in western Kentucky nearly done, Herbek said. There's not been many reports of stalk lodging problems that many fields had last year.

"Looking back on this year, we got off to a good start with more than 95 percent of the crop planted by mid-May," Herbek said.

A cool, dry spell in May slowed growth, but when the rains came and temperatures warmed, the growth caught up. In the critical periods when the ears were setting, the rains came on a timely basis.

"Probably one of the overriding factors is that at the ear fill stage, we did not have exceedingly hot temperatures," Herbek said. "We didn't have that many days above 90 degrees, particularly not for long lengths and the night time temperatures were hardly ever over 80 degrees. That makes for excellent ear fill. I think that was one of the main factors."

Most areas generally had rains when needed but even in areas where the rains weren't as timely, yields are proving to be good, Murdock said. He attributes that to an early planting time and no-till planting.

"We use a lot of no-till planting in Kentucky and that just saves a lot of moisture. I think that made the difference on those places that didn't get the rains like most of the state did," he said.


James Herbek, Lloyd Murdock, (270) 365-7541