By Chad Hobbs
Motorists should be mindful on our local highways right now as farmers are well on their way in regard to the 2020 planting season. Large sprayers and fertilize spreaders are making their way across the county as they wrap up preparing fields to be planted. Many planters and drills are finding their way to local cropland as well. With soil temperatures rising, the roadways will be congested at times with oversized agriculture equipment being transported from field to field over the coming months. Please be mindful, especially on our county’s smaller secondary roads, of possible equipment impeding the roadway around every curve and hill. These farmers want to get out of your way just as bad as you want them to. If we all work together, everyone can make it safely home during the following months. If the worst thing that happens to you is a minor agricultural delay on the roadways, that’s a pretty good day by today’s standards. According to the USDA NASS Crop Progress and Condition report, Kentucky experienced well below normal temperatures and near normal rainfall over the past week. Temperatures averaged 46 degrees for the week, 10 degrees below normal. Days suitable for fieldwork averaged 4.5 out of a possible seven. Primary activities for last week included continued planting of corn and soybeans along with seeding of tobacco transplants. The state experienced a few light overnight freezes last week with mild daytime temperatures. Despite the weather setbacks, corn and soybean planting continued with both crops ahead of last year and the five year average. The corn crop is 6 percent emerged at this juncture. Soybeans did not sustain widespread freeze damage due to the fact that they have not yet emerged. Tobacco transplants are in mostly good condition. The average height of winter wheat was 17 inches with the condition mostly good. Winter wheat freeze damage was reported as 1 percent severe, 4 percent moderate, 37 percent light, and 58 percent with no damage. Alfalfa freeze damage was reported as 1 percent severe, 12 percent moderate, 32 percent light, and 55 percent with no damage. It is of note that any damage may not be apparent until assessment this week. The average height of alfalfa is 10 inches at this time. According to Farm Progress, Kentucky has approximately 25 percent of its corn crop planted this year which is almost double the 14 percent which was planted at this point last year and also the five year average of 15 percent planted right now. They also show approximately 9 percent of the soybean crop being planted as of now. Last year, only 1 percent of the crop was in the ground at this point. The five year average is 0 percent for the date.