Drier conditions towards the middle of the week ending April 20 helped Tennessee corn producers triple their planting progress from a week earlier, but progress remained about two weeks behind normal.

Most of the state's winter wheat has been top-dressed with a small fraction beginning to head. According to the state NASS office, the crop rated in mostly good-to-excellent condition. Moderate to severe flood damage occurred in counties along the Mississippi and some river bottoms.

Almost all of the peach and apple trees are budding or blooming. Little to no freeze damage was reported to fruit crops.

Strawberries were rated in fair-to-good condition, with a few reports of early harvesting.

Farmers were also fertilizing hay fields and pastures last week.

Other activities included applying pesticides, repairing equipment, and land preparations.

There were 5 days suitable for fieldwork last week. As of Friday, topsoil moisture levels were rated 7 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 21 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 4 percent very short, 11 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and 19 percent surplus.

Temperatures averaged four to six degrees below normal across Tennessee last week, while rainfall averaged one third to one inch below normal.

County Agent Comments

"Wheat continues to progress well. I estimate probably 8,000 to 10,000 acres of wheat have been affected by flood waters. Some fields showing signs of excessive soil moisture from several days of saturated soils with water. Corn planting has begun with producers planting driest or dryer fields first. If good weather holds next week it will be very, very busy with corn planting." Tim Campbell, Dyer County

"Producers finally were able to start corn planting in earnest mid-week, but rainfall on Friday brought all fieldwork to a halt. Producers were also busy applying fertilizer to corn land, pastures and hay fields, herbicides to wheat and burn down herbicides to no-till corn land." Jeff Lannom, Weakley County

"Giles County saw an F3 tornado pass through the northern part of the county on Friday, 4-11-08, around lunch time. There were no fatalities or injuries. Several homes were damaged. Reports indicate that at least five cows and calves were killed. Several thousand feet of fence were destroyed and several barns were damaged and/or destroyed. One dairy farmer had extensive damage to his milking parlor. Corn planting is in full swing. Soil moisture is perfect for planting. Periodic rainfalls have greatly helped pastures and hay fields this spring." Kevin Rose, Giles County

"Corn planting has resumed this week with some drying conditions. Pastures in general are still slow to recover." John Wilson, Blount County

"Strawberry growers have begun to harvest some early berries and the peach, apple and blueberry crops have come through with a minimal amount of damage." Kim Frady, Bradley County