Christmas Trees Another Crop Victim of Summer Drought

Nov 21, 2012

For some, a natural Christmas tree is the only way to go for the holidays.

The evergreen trees sold during the Christmas season take up to seven years to reach maturity. During that growing season, weather and animals are the tree farmer’s biggest enemies. This year the region’s industry was another victim of the 2012 drought.

Christian Fischer, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky’s agriculture industry is faring better than early predictions.  The agriculture industry, which includes crops, cattle and horses, earned more than $5 billion.  That figure is beyond Kentucky’s reach this year, but University of Kentucky Agriculture Economist Will Snell says many farmers should still do okay.


Officials with the Kentucky Division of Forestry say this summer’s lack of rain, along with tornadoes that have knocked down trees have created the conditions for a potentially bad wildfire season.  The recent drought has dried out state forests in the Commonwealth, and fallen trees and limbs means there’s plenty of fuel for wildfires.  State forester Leah MacSwords says this could lead to an active fire season and be dangerous for firefighters.  She says people should take extra precautions and watch out for forest arson, the leading cause of Kentucky’s wildfires.  This fall’s fire season

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.

Drought Means Less Hay for Cattle Feed

Sep 24, 2012
Wikimedia Commons

This summer’s drought caused a significant decrease in grass hay production, which many cattle farmers rely on for feed.

The dry weather cut hay production by two-thirds, raising prices $15 to $20 per ton, says Caldwell County Extension Agent Shane Bogle. 

The drought that’s been plaguing areas of Kentucky and Indiana for much of the summer could end up having an effect on honeybee colonies, too. Sean Burgess is Kentucky’s state apiarist. He says this time of year is critical for bee colonies, because it’s when they harvest nectar to make the honey that nourishes them through the winter. Burgess says drought conditions have led to a shortage of flowering plants, but late summer blooms of goldenrod and aster could provide extra stores for the winter. He says many beekeepers have been supplementing the nectar by manually feeding their bees.

Wikimedia Commons

While the US drought has been rough on our region’s corn and soybean crops, grape growers in the Four Rivers say their harvest will make up in quality what it lacks in quantity.  Winemakers throughout the area report their vineyards have proven resilient to the recent heat and dryness. 

U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will hold a news conference on Thursday morning at the Kentucky State Fair to rally for industrial hemp.

Six County-Wide Burn Bans Left in W. Ky.

Aug 17, 2012

Six county-wide burn bans remain in western Kentucky after Marshall and McCracken county officials lifted their bans today. The river counties of Ballard, Hickman, Fulton and Carlisle still have burn ban notices in effect. Christian and Graves counties also have burn bans.