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Kentucky Fruit Crops Sustain Freeze Damage
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/19/2020

Kentucky experienced below normal temperatures and rainfall over the past week. Precipitation for the week totaled 0.73 inches, 0.40 inches below normal. Temperatures averaged 62 degrees for the week, 2 degrees below normal. Topsoil moisture was rated 1 percent very short, 1 percent short, 62 percent adequate, and 36 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 1 percent very short, 1 percent short, 69 percent adequate, and 29 percent surplus. Days suitable for fieldwork averaged 3.6 out of a possible seven.

Primary activities for this week included planting of corn and soybeans, setting tobacco, and cutting hay. Fieldwork progress was slowed this week due to unstable weather. Cool temperatures at the beginning of the week gave way to warmer conditions accompanied by periodic rain. The weather stymied tobacco setting in particular when compared with last week.

Corn planting remains ahead of last year, however is now behind the five year average for this juncture. Soybean progress is ahead of both the five-year average and the previous year. The corn crop is 56 percent emerged at this time while soybeans are 24 percent emerged. Tobacco transplant supplies are 98 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

After the freeze event that occurred week before last, crops are still being evaluated for damage. Corn condition is rated mostly good currently, however damage from the freeze may become more evident this week. There were reports of stressed corn in certain areas and soybeans were in a susceptible stage at the time of the freeze. Winter wheat is 89 percent headed and the crop is in mostly good condition. Freeze damage to wheat was rated as 2 percent severe, 12 percent moderate, 36 percent light, and 50 percent with no damage. Fruits were subject to damage brought on by cold temperatures with some producers fearing a loss. Apple freeze damage was reported as 14 percent severe, 41 percent moderate, 21 percent light, and 24 percent with no damage. Freeze damage to peaches was reported as 18 percent severe, 27 percent moderate, 16 percent light, and 39 percent with no damage. Alfalfa freeze damage was measured as mostly light to no apparent damage. Strawberry condition was rated as mostly good.

Pasture condition is mostly good, despite the cool temperatures and persistent rain.

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