Farmers concerned as drought-like conditions affect crops

Scott County Farmer Brennan Gilkison says the current conditions he's facing at his farm remind him of 2012 in what he calls one of the toughest droughts in state history.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky (WTVQ)- Hot temperatures and drought-like conditions continue in central Kentucky and it’s becoming a concern for farmers.

“Just thinking about the crops sitting out here just going to ruins is hard,” said cattle and row crop farmer Brennan Gilkison of Winchester.

Gilkison is a cattle, row crop, and tobacco farmer in Winchester. He says the current conditions he’s facing at his farm remind him of 2012 in what he calls one of the toughest droughts in state history.

“We went to the end of May to the basically the first week up in July, July 8th maybe with no rain,” recalled Gilkison. “And for our corn crop in 2012, it was a goose egg. We ended up mowing it all down.”

Gilkison said while it’s too early to determine how good his corn crop is going to be this year, his fields are in desperate need of water.

“For the next few weeks for this crop anyways, for this field, when it starts tassling. And that’s extreme danger when we have excessive heat and then a lack of water. We’re tassling on some fields right now,” said Gilkison.

Gilkison also says the conditions could affect what his crop will produce later on.

Down the road from Gilkison, other farmers are having to come up with ways to adapt to keep their crops watered.

“We’ve been here on this farm for over 50 years now,” said farmer Ben Webb.

Webb is a fourth generation tobacco farmer. The Webb family recently implemented a portable irrigation system to keep their fields watered.

“If you’ve got the ability to do it, it’s almost your best bet, but if you don’t have any water, you’ve got to make something happen so you gotta figure out a way to happen,” said Webb.

The system, however, is just another added expense with diesel and gas prices surging.

“Fertilizers up, diesels up, chemicals are hard to come by so there’s some mark up on them sometimes,”  said Webb. “Running this pump alone, its a hundred gallon tank it and it usually lasts us about a day and a half. And that can get pretty expensive pretty quick when you’re running through fuel that quick.” Webb says.

Gilkison said he’s hoping relief comes soon.

“We need a drink. The whole state needs drink, I think the whole side of the country, everybody needs a drink,” said Gilkison.

Gilkison also says it’s a task to eliminate stress on his cattle in the heat. He says diseases, like foot rot, can be dangerous, especially when the herds try to cool off in a creek and get bacterial infections.


Categories: Features, Local News, News