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|Western Illinois Farmers Having Trouble Planting Corn
|The state's corn farmers are having the worst start to the planting season in more than a decade.
The USDA's crop conditions report for last week says wet conditions caused planting activities in Illinois to fall further behind schedule. It was the third straight week farmers have not been able to catch-up because of the weather.
Only five percent of the corn crop is in the ground, 20 percentage points behind last year's pace. The long-term average is two-thirds of the crop planted by early May. Western Illinois farmers are behind even more than their state counterparts with just 3 percent of the region's corn planted so far.
USDA Crop Statistician Brad Schwab says he's hoping for ideal planting conditions in the weeks ahead.
"Back in 2004 we did have our record yield for corn. That's pretty much what the condition was, we had below-normal temperatures through July and August and it really helped the corn crop out. But I don't think farmers are focusing on that right now, they just want to get the crop in the ground, you know, and they're certainly concerned about it.
The last time corn planting progress was this slow was in 1993. The good news is the National Weather Service is forecasting a warmer and slightly dryer weather on the horizon, and producers are using that prediction to prepare for a full swing of planting to get underway.
Western Illinois was the wettest among the state's nine crop reporting districts last week. Our region recorded 2.85 inches of rain, which is a little over two inches above normal. The statewide average was 2.34 inches, increasing topsoil moisture content in Illinois to 78 percent surplus - including 85 percent in this area.
The USDA says farmers had an average of one-half day suitable for fieldwork. The average was one-tenth in the western part of the state.
|05 07 09 by Newsroom
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