Area farmers cope with difficult year

Farmers in the state are having a difficult year, what with the wet spring that led to late planting and now with the hot and dry summer.

Farmers had a hard time getting into the fields in April, May, and June to get seed planted — and now that it’s in the ground, days of rain have been few and far between.

Fulton County farmer Lance Tarchionne tells WGIL that there was a window of opportunity in April for farmers in west-central Illinois that he was able to get some planting in.

“I planted a little bit. We actually went to the fields with two planters — one doing corn [and] one doing beans — the Monday after Easter and [the dirt] was mud.”

Tarchionne says they planted a couple of fields of corn and beans but would shut everything down because conditions were not good for planting.

He, who says he preaches waiting for better conditions, thought there would be better planting in the future but would say that April’s window was really the best for him.

“Looking back in hindsight. I could have done another 500 acres. It wouldn’t have been any worse than the 200 that we did. And, that early stuff is going to be the best crop.”

He says that mid-May was the next opportunity for farmers, but the rain that followed led farmers to replant most of it.

By June, most farmers had their crops in as patience had worn out.

Now, in late July, Tarchionne says that farmers need some consistent rain to keep the crops growing, saying that it’ll be difficult to maximize the potential of the crops unless farmers get normal rainfall for July and above-normal rainfall for August and September.

“If you don’t pay any attention to the calendar date, this June planted corn looks great. If it was mid-June instead of getting closer to late July we’d say ‘we’re sitting on a bumper crop.’ You can’t necessarily say that because of the lateness of the planting.”

Tarchionne says that the USDA yield estimates may be a bit aggressive, adding that it could work out that way if the weather works in farmer’s favor.