Dry weather affects corn condition

Wheat farmers get off to fast start on harvest.

Cameron McNamara, an Evergreen FS crop specialist, applies soybean pre-plant residual herbicide on a field near McDowell in Livingston County. He noted about 75 percent of area cornfields have received post-herbicide treatment, while such applications are just beginning for soybeans. (Photo by Cyndi Wiggs)
Cameron McNamara, an Evergreen FS crop specialist, applies soybean pre-plant residual herbicide on a field near McDowell in Livingston County. He noted about 75 percent of area cornfields have received post-herbicide treatment, while such applications are just beginning for soybeans. (Photo by Cyndi Wiggs)
By Daniel Grant and Jeff Brown

Illinois farmers have gotten caught up on their crops, but soil moisture is falling behind.

According to USDA’s crop progress and condition report released Monday, 96 percent of Illinois’ corn has emerged, 1 percent behind the five-year average. And farmers are ahead of schedule on soybeans, with 93 percent of that crop planted, compared with an 88 percent average pace.

“I’d say in our area things are pretty well caught up,” Daniel Deuth, a farmer from Forreston (Ogle County) and Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leader Committee member, told FarmWeek.

Meanwhile, just 0.15 inches of rain fell last week, three-quarters of an inch short of normal. As a result, 41 percent of the state’s topsoil is considered short or very short on moisture.

Iroquois County CropWatcher Ron Haase said his fields haven’t seen rain in almost two weeks.

“Things dry out pretty quick with all the above-90 (degree) temperatures we’ve had recently, and with the wind, too,” he said.

Related: Replant claims spike to more than double normal level. Click here.

Haase added that his corn plants are already showing signs of stress.

“Are the roots able to grow fast enough to keep up with the moisture moving down in the soil profile? Especially as they’re curling up during the day and trying to conserve moisture, they might not have as much energy to put growth in during the day,” he said. “Especially the later crop – the crop that just got planted – if it doesn’t get a shower pretty soon, it’s going to be under more stress to keep going.”

The corn crop’s condition is rated 58 percent good or excellent. Soybeans are faring better, with 66 percent considered in the top two categories.

“When the cold weather hit (earlier this spring), it did a number on the corn plants,” said Brad Ott of DuPont/Pioneer. “Soybeans tended to make it through well.”

Wheat farmers have taken advantage of the dry weather, as they’ve harvested 24 percent of the crop, 13 percent ahead of the five-year pace.

“It (the wheat crop) is looking pretty good,” Deuth said. “It’s headed out and a little ahead of schedule.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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