Early start to crop year could point to profits

Record March warmth and not too much April rain have the crop year in Tennessee off to a great start.  Now the concern is timely rainfall.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- 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 seriously damaged some grape crops and frost that burned some early sweet corn.

Now the concern is timely rainfall.

The crop report for the last week in April from the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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.

But rainfall since Jan. 1 is off 8.15 inches at Huntingdon in West Tennessee and 6.06 inches behind at Cleveland in East Tennessee.

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