Weather conditions for West Central Illinois in recent months have prompted many to question what the crop will yield this farming season. WLDS/WEAI news caught up with Duane Friend, an environmental educator with University of Illinois Extension Office in Morgan County to discuss some of the impacts the recent weather trends are having on fields.
Friend talks about effects on farms that come with a colder spring.
“In general we’ve been lucky in the fact that we’ve had a relatively cold spring, so it’s not like if we had an early spring and then we had this cold weather. Then we would probably be in a lot worse shape. The big thing is right now is of course it’s holding farmers back from getting in the fields and getting the crop planted. A lot of times here in the last few years we’ve had people already out in the fields and corn already in the ground at this point. If things would warm up, I think things could catch up pretty quickly. If this cold weather continues on for the next two weeks though, that’s gonna start putting people a little farther back than they would like to be, especially for planting corn.”
Friend acknowledges the lower than average precipitation totals from the end of 2017, although he is confident that the 2018 farming season will yield a proper result. However, the possibility of extended variance from normal weather conditions will ultimately determine the value of this year’s crop yields.
“We really had a very dry fall, a very dry winter, and there were a lot of concerns about drought conditions steadily creeping in to Western Illinois. With the rain and the precipitation that we’ve had in the last few weeks, that’s backed off a little bit. I think we’re gonna be fine in terms of getting a crop in. The big question will be, ‘What does the rest of spring bring? Do we end up turning suddenly dry and the precipitation goes away?’ That will be one concern. I know that the three-month forecast, I think, is still calling for warmer than average temperatures. So, you know, that’ll all play out here in the next few months. But if we have normal precipitation from here on, at least in terms of soil moisture we should be okay.”
Going forward, Friend says normal precipitation totals would be ideal for both the soil and local bodies of water.
“Now a lot of the ponds, a lot of the lakes are still below normal. Those could still use some extra precipitation. Hopefully we’ll get some of that here in the next month or so. We certainly don’t need any excess precipitation, but if we could get normal precipitation hopefully things will start getting back to normal in terms of lake and pond levels, and certainly soil moisture will be adequate.”
Stay tuned to WLDS for all your weather and farming projections and updates.