Lyon County farmers’ fall harvest of corn overall is ahead of schedule, despite various weather-related factors, including southern rust. Most soybeans have yet to be harvested; results likely will be mixed.
“(Farmers) have had a good stretch of dry weather, so they’re ahead of the game as far as combining the corn and getting it out of the field,” said Susan Fox. She’s Lyon County’s University of Kentucky Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources.
“Some yields in the fields have been high,” she said. “Some fields were hurt a little bit, because during pollination, we had some hot, dry weather. We also had some rainy weather, so, there was some late corn that didn’t do quite as well. But overall, the corn yields were pretty decent this year.”
This season’s early arrival of southern rust poses a threat to some cornfields. It coated the leaves of corn fairly significantly.
“It was a pretty high disease level,” Fox said. “The southern rust comes up from the south every year; sometimes it comes earlier than in other years. We had quite a bit of it this year. A lot of those leaves were just covered with it. So, that probably pulled down the corn yields.”
The pathogen Puccinia polysora causes southern rust and most corn hybrids are susceptible to it, according to the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment website. The site adds, “crop progress and timing are very important factors on whether it will cause significant yield losses.”
Farmers can spray with a fungicide and some did, Fox said. Southern rust did affect some of the fields, due to the sheer volume of it this year.
“Farming is a lot more complicated than most people realize,” she said. “There are a lot of decisions to be made.”
Most farmers really haven’t gotten started harvesting soybeans yet this year.
“I think the soybeans will be more mixed, maybe not quite as good as the corn,” Fox said. “There are some good fields and then there are some that are fairly uneven. There are some issues in some of the soybean fields. I’d say it should be at least average, ’though. So, it’s not a bad year.”