LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The majority of Kentucky counties were still in a Moderate or Severe Drought rating from the U S Drought Monitor through mid-December. As precipitation improved towards the end of the month, some counties still had an Abnormally Dry rating. Precipitation for the month totaled 5.54 inches, 1.12 inches above normal. Precipitation totals by climate division, West 5.29 inches, Central 6.06 inches, Bluegrass 5.26 inches and East 5.53 inches, which was 0.46, 1.26, 1.41 and 1.32 inches above normal respectively. Temperatures averaged 38 degrees for the month, near normal. High temperatures averaged from 45 in the West to 47 in the East. Low temperatures averaged from 30 degrees in the West to 31 degrees in the East. Milder temperatures and rainfall have resulted in muddy field conditions in some areas.
Tobacco producers continued to strip their tobacco when conditions allowed. The amount of tobacco stripped was 81 percent, compared to 87 percent last year. Winter wheat was rated in mostly good condition, but there are spots in some fields where dry weather affected stands, and delayed and/or non-uniform emergence occurred. Winter wheat conditions were rated as 3% very poor, 8% poor, 33% fair, 45% good, and 11% excellent.
Most producers feel hay supplies are adequate; however, quality may be an issue due to dry conditions experienced in October and November. Hay and roughage supplies were reported as 4% very short, 14% short, 74% adequate, and 8% surplus. Livestock was rated in mostly good condition, although many producers started to supplement pastures with hay earlier this season. Additionally, some pastures are being reseeded in areas that were impacted by severe and extreme drought. Livestock conditions were rated as 1% very poor, 2% poor, 20% fair, 64% good, and 13% excellent.
— USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office
For more news from Kentucky, click here.