National grain specialists are predicting a record amount of corn crops could go in the ground this spring. A rise in corn yields has been a trend in the commonwealth. University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Grain Crops, Chad Lee says Kentucky’s corn acreage could go up about ten percent this year. Lee says the profit potential is partly the result of warmer than usual weather. He says, in the bluegrass, corn has gone from being the number three crop to number one in the last few years.
‘In central Kentucky over the last century really the primary crop was tobacco..then the second crop of importance would have been hay and pasture…in the last three years corn and soybeans for many of these producers have switched..being the number one crop that they are concerned about,” said Lee.
Corn is popping up across the commonwealth in locations where tobacco once held a strong hold. Lee says the state's record acreage dedicated to corn actually occurred back in 1917..
“If we look long term we’re producing more and more corn on fewer and fewer acres…and that’s important because we are choosing the soils that are best suited for corn.. and then try to maximize yield on those soils..so that we free up other acres for pasture for hay, soybean for wheat, for other crops for livestock,” added Lee.
Lee says a warmer than usual winter is expected to mean more bug problems for corn growers this year. A large amount of Kentucky corn is becoming feed for western Kentucky poultry farms.