Despite a soggy start to the planting season, many Illinois farmers were able to overcome record rainfall in April to finish getting their crops into the ground in time.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 94 percent of the state’s corn is planted and 80 percent of the crop has emerged, as of May 29th.
Some farmers in the Will County area located outside Chicago said they finished planting just in the nick of time.
“Right around Chicago we got a break (from the rain) and a lot of farmers are catching a break,” said John Kiefner, a farmer in Manhattan, Ill. who has 600 acres of soybeans, corn and hay. Having completed planting over a week ago, Kiefner said he has been farming long enough to know to prepare for other potential wallops from Mother Nature. Kiefner went ahead and planted his soybeans early this year.
Farmers around the state played an anxious game of catch-up after one of the wettest April’s ever in Illinois. The statewide average rainfall for Illinois in April was 7.45 inches, nearly double the average rainfall of 3.83 inches for the month, reported the Prairie Research Institute. This broke the record of 7.13 inches set in 1957, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.
Jim Robbins, another farmer in Will County said the rain in April did affect planting somewhat, but he has managed to plant all of his corn and 80 percent of his soybeans on his 8,000 acres of land. While the rain delayed planting, he said he should have no problem planting the remaining soybeans with promising weather ahead.
As of May 29th, 59 percent of the Illinois soybean crop was planted with 30 percent of the crop emerged. Both numbers were slightly behind normal progress for the date, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau.
The Linn Group, Inc. a Chicago commodities research and brokerage firm, cut its corn estimates in Illinois on Wednesday by 100,000 acres.
While some farmers have been lucky, not all have fared well. Randy Anderson, a farmer in Saline County in Southern Illinois gave a more distressing account of planting season on the on the FarmWeek CropWatchers blog published by the Illinois Farm Bureau website.
“ I feel like we are in a never-ending marathon of the movie Ground Hog Day this planting season. Some good progress is made, then guess what — it rains again,” Anderson wrote. “Some producers are close to being done with corn. Some like me, are saying that by the time it gets dry enough again to plant, it will be almost too late. The corn planting cutoff date for us is June 5, and what is left to plant are the wettest field.”
Anderson finished his post on May 27th with: “Keep all your friends and neighbors who have had trouble with the spring weather in your prayers.”