The winter wheat harvest has officially begun, and the local West Southwest District ended up being the driest district in the state last week. According to the USDA, roughly 75% of last week was suitable for fieldwork, at 5.3 days. The state temperature average was 72.7 degrees, three degrees above normal. Illinois's precipitation average came in at 1.17 inches. The state usually gets about nine tenths of an inch for the 23rd week of the year.
State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener offers last week's numbers for winter wheat.
“Wheat harvest began last week, but is only one percent complete. That compares to 21 percent one year ago and 4 percent for the five-year average. The condition of the wheat crop was rated 8 percent very poor to poor, 21 percent fair and 71 percent good to excellent."
Schleusener goes over stats for the continuing success of corn and soybean planting.
“Soybean planting inched forward to 96 percent finished, compared to 92 percent last year and 85 percent normally. The soybean crop was rated as 2 percent of acres in poor condition, 15 percent fair, and 83 percent in good to excellent condition, an improvement from one week ago.
"95 percent of corn acres have emerged, right on par with the five-year average. The condition of the corn crop improved slightly from last week, and is now 3 percent very poor to poor, 15 percent fair, and 82 percent good to excellent."
Schleusener gives updates for alfalfa and other hay, sorghum, and pasture conditions.
"The first cutting of alfalfa hay is now 89 percent complete, other hay is now 82 percent finished, and sorghum acres are now 86 percent planted. Pasture conditions were rated 6 percent poor, 21 percent fair, and 73 percent good to excellent, an improvement from one week ago."
The West Southwest District was the second warmest region in the state last week, with an average temperature of 75-and-a-half degrees, a full five degrees above normal. The local district was also the driest in the state; though we typically see nine-tenths of an inch of rain in the 23rd week of the year, the district only received 40 percent of that at 0.36 inches. Schleusener gives last week's ratings for topsoil moisture supply.
"Topsoil moisture supplies increased slightly, and were rated 3 percent very short, 15 percent short, 66 percent adequate, and 16 percent surplus."
Subsoil moisture supply was rated two percent very short, seventeen percent short, seventy two percent adequate, and nine percent surplus.