Harvest yields good for Grant County in 2011

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Grant County has bucked the trend, at least this year when it comes to harvest yields.

While the heat and dryness of the summer were hard on corn and soybeans, especially in central Kentucky, as well as many other parts of the nation, Grant County experienced a good year, especially for tobacco.

“This crop was probably the best tobacco crop we’ve raised in at least five years,” said Chris Ammerman, Grant County Extension Agent for Agriculture.

Ammerman said he believed that the county’s corn crop would easily exceed a yield of 30 bushels to the acre over the county average.

“That means $200 to $250 per acre per bushel of revenue,” he said.

Springs wet weather delayed planting, but that may have actually worked to the local farmers’ advantage this year.

“We didn’t get plantings out until mid-June, which would have normally been done in mid to late-May,” Ammerman said.

When the crops did go into the ground, lower than normal temperatures without the high humidity was an added bonus.

“Mother Nature really took care of us this year,” Ammerman said.

While Grant County fared well, other counties did not.

“Across the state reports are that harvest yields are significantly lower than last year,” Ammerman said.

While consumers may be happy for the farmers, they may not realize it does impact them on a local level.

With flooding in the Midwest, many crops were drowned, which means less harvest on a national level.

“From the soft drink aisles all the way to the meat case, folks will see higher prices than they are used to seeing,” Ammerman said.

Despite higher grocery prices, Ammerman said he believes agriculture is a bright spot in the national economy.

“We had an adequate amount of rainfall this year and there’s a surplus of hay to get livestock through the winter,” he said.

Grant County wasn’t without weather related problems this year as high winds and a couple of tornadoes roared through in the spring.

“We did have some crops destroyed from those nasty storms, but Grant and the surrounding counties were fortunate and bucked the trend, but 50 miles south and things were drastically different,” Ammerman said. “We’re hoping that Mother Nature smiles on us next year.”

Good prices will help farmers offset yield losses, but production costs continue to climb meaning less money to circulate through the economy.