Corn and soybeans are nearly completely harvested in West Central Illinois.
With 3.9 days of fieldwork last week, the West Southwest District of the USDA is reporting 78 percent of maize and 90 percent of beans are out of the ground. Those numbers are both slightly behind the state pace but just ahead of the five-year average.
Crop statistician Mark Schleusener says in some cases, farmers have left corn unharvested because they wanted to lose some moisture before they take it to the elevator.
“Corn prices are a good deal lower than they have been for the last several years, and if the moisture content of the grain they harvest is high, then they have to pay for that; they get a lesser price when they sell at the elevator,” Schleusener explains.
“So, many, many producers are waiting for Mother Nature to dry that corn down. If there’s another factor besides that, it would be that some producers are large enough that it’s just hard to get it all done. They may also be shifting over to soybeans because they’re a little more fragile. A good wind storm can shatter the pod, put the beans on the ground,” he says.
This time last year, 97 percent of corn was harvested.
After last week’s rain, soil conditions have greatly improved.
Topsoil in the local district is listed as six percent very short, 39 percent short, and 53 percent adequate, slightly drier than the state numbers. Conversely, local subsoil is more moist, with nearly four-fifths reported adequate and just 17 percent listed as short.
2.09 inches of rain were recorded locally.
“That two inches or two-plus inches compares to an average of 0.82, so the state as a whole was more than an inch above average for the week, and I think that’s done a good job of replenishing the topsoil moister and some subsoil moisture as well,” Schleusener says.
The temperature last week was 2.7 degrees below normal at 49.2.
Above: a farmer harvests corn in a field near Woodland Lake in Morgan County.