Chantel Schmitt, 123rf Stock Photo

Numerous media outlets are reporting that increased amounts of ‘corn sweat’ could be affecting the heat index across the U.S. increasing rates of heat exhaustion. Paducah National Weather Service Meteorologist Kelly Hooper says there might be some confusion.

"Knee-high by the Fourth of July" is an old favorite saying, when you'd drive past a field of corn out in the country. And many of the old favorite varieties, called heirloom corn, have lots of new friends.

In recent years, seed companies have been reporting big sales numbers for these varieties. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri says sales are "skyrocketing" — a fitting verb for the fireworks holiday.

Chantel Schmitt, 123rf Stock Photo

Farmers in far western Kentucky are hopeful for the rainy weather this 4th of July weekend. The National Weather Service in Paducah reports June was tied as the fifth driest on record with average highs near 90.

Frank Hennenfent is a typical Illinois farmer. At this time of year, he spends countless hours in an air-conditioned, GPS-equipped combine – an enormous machine that can harvest as many as 12 rows of corn at a time.

But in late September, Hennenfent was going back to the basics. He was a top competitor at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

Christian Fischer, Wikimedia Commons

Good weather and bumper corn crops for the last two years have generated a surplus of corn and, in turn, lower prices for area farmers. 

Scot Bauer / USDA

The US Global Change Research Program released its third climate assessment this week, which found Kentucky farmers could continue to see rising summer temperatures and increased drought in the future.

Wikimedia Commons

A new agriculture forecast says plenty of rain and cooler temperatures mean Kentucky grain farmers could see productive yields later this year.

The Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service says 85 percent of the commonwealth's corn crop and 84 percent of its soybean crop are rated good or excellent.

From NPR: Last year, drought devastated many corn farmers, so you think they’d welcome all the spring rain. But it’s putting them behind schedule because they can’t plant in soaked fields.

Tennessee farmers may be lamenting losses to the corn harvest resulting from this summer’s drought, but midsummer rains have saved most of their other crops. Cotton is expected to bring in some of the best per-acre yields. Farmer Willis Jepson says soybeans made 55 bushels per acre. That’s 15 more than usual. But his farm still lost $500,000  in corn.

This year’s drought hasn’t just lessened corn crops in our region. It’s also left stalks too low for the fall tradition of corn mazes.

Sam Brown of Mayfield’s A-Maize-ing Farms says instead of the usual 20-acre corn maze, it will offer other activities such as a petting zoo and paintball. The owners of Paducah’s Blooms ‘N Gardens say if it hadn’t been for their irrigation system, they would’ve lost their 8-acre maze.