Corn for grain production by Kentucky farmers was estimated at 152 million bushels, down 11 percent from the 2007 crop. Production was down due to less corn harvested for grain as yield was up from last year. Corn yield has been generally good with the dry summer. Yields varied greatly depending on rainfall received and the timing of the rain. Rainfall varied greatly by county and locality. Yield was estimated at 136 bushels per acre, up 8 bushels from last year’s crop. Acreage harvested for grain was estimated at 1.12 million acres, down 220,000 acres from the previous year. U.S. corn for grain production in 2008 was estimated at 12.1 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the November forecast but 7 percent below last year’s record high. The average yield was estimated at 153.9 bushels per acre, up 0.1 bushel from the November forecast and 3.2 bushels above 2007. The 2008 yield was the second highest on record, behind 2004, and production was second largest behind last year.
Kentucky soybean production was estimated at 46.9 million bushels, up 55 percent from the small 2007 crop. Production was up from last year due to increased harvested acreage and yield. Yields varied depending on how much and when the rainfall was received. Double crop soybeans, following the wheat harvest in early summer, were impacted due to lack of rainfall during the growing season. Yield was estimated at 34 bushels per acre, up 6.5 bushels from the drought reduced crop of 2007. Acreage harvested as beans was estimated at 1.38 million acres, up 280,000 acres from the previous year. U.S. soybean production in 2008 totaled 2.96 million bushels, up one percent from the November forecast and up 11 percent from 2007. Production was the fourth largest on record. The average yield per acre was estimated at 39.6 bushels, 0.3 bushel above the November forecast but 2.1 bushels below last year’s yield.
Kentucky burley tobacco production was estimated at 147 million pounds, down 9 percent from the 2007 crop. Production was good given the dry summer. The dry weather during the late summer and fall made it difficult to bring tobacco into case, resulting in less than desired curing conditions. Finding adequate labor at cutting and housing time continued to be a problem. After stripping was completed, burley producers found yields were better than expected. Yield was estimated at 2,100 pounds per acre, unchanged from the 2007 crop. Harvested acreage was estimated at 70,000 acres, a decrease of 7,000 acres from the previous year. Production in the burley producing states totaled 201 million pounds in 2008, down 7 percent from a year ago. Kentucky produced 73 percent of the U.S. production. Yield per acre averaged 2,068 pounds, 35 pounds above last year.
Production of Kentucky dark fire-cured tobacco totaled 38.2 million pounds, up 59 percent from a year ago. Dark air-cured tobacco production was up 20.7 million pounds, a 83 percent increase from the 2007 crop of 11.3 million pounds. Dark tobacco acreage increased 46 percent from 2007.
Kentucky alfalfa hay production was estimated at 600,000 tons, up 19 percent from a year earlier. Other hay production was estimated at 4.56 million tons, up 27 percent from the 2007 crop. Combined acreage cut for hay totaled 2.64 million acres. Rainfall has been scattered and light since the early cuttings and has reduced additional cuttings of hay on many operations.