Thursday, August 18, 2011

Drought Expanding Across Kentucky - and Midwest

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

The dry weather is expanding across the state according to the drought monitor posted on Aug. 16, 2011. About 50 percent of the state - and 90 percent of the grain crops area - fall into the "Abnormally Dry" category. The map from a week earlier estimated that about 17 percent of the state was in the same category. Similar trends can be seen across the Midwest as well.

Only half of the Kentucky corn crop was at the dough stage and 56 percent of Kentucky soybeans were setting pods for the same reporting period. This dry weather is coming at a bad time for seed fill in both crops. Corn in dry conditions will continue to pull resources from the stalks and give them to the seeds. Seed fill will be smaller and lighter. Soybeans will abort pods or may limit seed fill. 

In general, corn is closer to full maturity than soybean. Rains at this point will be good for both crops, but soybeans have more potential to gain yield than corn. The strong commodity prices were storng incentives to price a portion of the crop. This is a good year to walk fields and assess the yield potential.

Estimating corn yields
Estimating soybean yields

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