Record March warmth and not too much April rain have the crop year in Tennessee off to a great start. The only obstacles were overnight freezes in April that damaged some grape crops and some early sweet corn. Now the concern is timely rainfall. Rainfall since January 1 in the western part of the state is off about 8 inches.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report for the last week in April was startlingly good. Corn planting was 93 percent complete statewide, compared with a five-year average of 62 percent. Nearly a quarter of farmers who grow hay had baled their first cutting by April 30, compared with the average of 2 percent.