The extreme drought in Western Kentucky has drastically decreased corn yield potential. As a result, many farmers are making decisions about what to do with the crop.
According to Kentucky Weekly Crop and Weather Report for the week ending July 15, 77 percent of the state's corn crop was rated poor or very poor. While rain is needed, it may do little to help the crop as 90 percent of it has already tasseled and 76 percent has silked.
"As far as harvesting a crop, this is the worst I've seen since I've been here," said Susan Fox, who's been Lyon County's agriculture and natural resources agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service for the past seven years. "The timing of the extreme heat combined with severe drought at tasseling was terrible for corn pollination."
Some of the producers in Lyon County have made the decision to cut at least a portion of their crop for silage to feed to their livestock.
Given the drought and the condition of the corn, UK College of Agriculture specialists agree that making silage from the crop to feed to ruminants can be a viable option for farmers. Drought-stressed corn harvested for silage can be 60% to 100% of the normal feed value of regular corn silage, depending on how much of the crop was damaged and the amount of grain in the silage.