Stark County

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Gary Steward of Toulon grows corn and soybeans, and custom farms with his son, David.

We had a much better week weather-wise to get something accomplished. It dried out enough to get back in the field Oct. 15. We’re still fighting with downed corn, so we stayed on that through Monday morning, then we changed heads and went to soybean harvest. Most others did, too, with hundre…

It’s hard to get much accomplished when it rains daily. Saturday, Oct. 2 was the last day we worked all day. Wednesday morning, we picked four truckloads of corn before we were rained out again. A few friends have finished corn, but nearly everyone has hundreds of acres of soybeans yet to cu…

Last week started out wet after 0.6 inches of rain fell Oct. 3. It rained pretty good for a half hour or so. We got back to corn late Monday morning and will stay in corn for a while as it’s now down to 14% to 16% moisture. Most of us signed contracts for LP dryer gas that will not be needed…

It was a hot, dry week in Stark County. Most people cut soybeans as hard as they could go. More fields have disappeared than I can count. There are a few guys trying to get their flattened corn harvested before they switch to beans. It’s a slow process. Soybean yields are still fairly good i…

We got back to picking corn Monday after taking last weekend off. The corn dried 8% to 9% in a week which is testament to 90-degree days with wind. Our corn is 20% to 23% now so we’re going at it hard. Reports of corn at 16% makes just putting it in the bin a no brainer. We had nearly 1 inch…

The rapid drying of this crop has been surprising. Fields of corn in Stark County are disappearing quickly. I’m hearing good yields with moisture all over the map – 19-25% is common. We tried some last Tuesday, but at 32% we quickly quit. The guys with flat corn are hard at it, but getting o…

The 4 inches of rain we received in August and early September has been great for hay production in Stark County. Many guys are putting up their fourth and fifth cuttings as we end the week. Several farmers started picking corn the Tuesday after Labor Day. Yield information wasn’t available …

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We had a nice week in Stark County. A few showers Monday turned into 1 inch of rain by evening. We’ve had 3 inches in the last 10 days now. We look to have some good soybeans this fall. With Labor Day over, harvest is going to ramp up quickly now. Several friends will start Tuesday or Wednes…

Hot and steamy describes last week in Stark County. On Monday, the local elevator group treated a lot of us to a golf outing and an evening meal. We always look forward to this outing to catch up with friends we haven’t seen all summer. Thank you for the kind comments that I received from se…

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CropWatcher Gary Steward's focus is changing to harvest. He doesn't have any equipment out yet but he’s well prepared. “I think most of Stark County is waiting for the corn to dry down,” he said in this Aug. 23 update. Find out when he thinks combines will hit the fields.

We had a very average week in Stark County. Baling hay was about the only action here. Many farmers are on vacation, some are at the state fair and others are just preparing for harvest. There’s also lots of mowing roadsides and waterways. It’s kind of like the calm before the storm of harve…

It was a weather week in Stark County. We had rain over a hot weekend with some severe thunderstorms last Monday night. We had nearly 1 inch over those three days. White mold is showing up in the beans, so it looks like a good decision spraying fungicide a couple weeks ago. As the week progr…

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It was a quiet week in Stark County. We had some nice, low humidity days early last week as the corn ears are filling out and we’ve had enough moisture that the beans are still adding pods as we get into August weather. Hoping to catch a couple showers this weekend to fill those pods. It tur…

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We had a nice Cruise-In Car Show recently east of Toulon, always a good time. The Stark County Fair was last week. We went to the sale Monday night, bought a Queen’s pie and some seed corn to support the local 4H clubs. We had a great time and saw people that we hadn’t seen since spring. Kay…

Another week of waiting for the ground to dry up. Spraying fungicide and insecticide on the soybeans is on the agenda, with a few sprayings by Thursday, July 22. Many of us have concluded with the bean plants so large, airplane delivery is warranted, instead of ground spraying. The sprayer d…

Not a lot to report this week. We tried to dry out for most of the week, but we received 1.6 inches Tuesday night and another shower Wednesday night. We’re up to 12 inches in a couple of weeks now. Needless to say, not much fieldwork happened. Very few airplanes sprayed fungicide on corn, ei…

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This week was all about plant growth. With 7 inches of rain last week, the 90-degree weather and sunshine made for a great greenhouse effect. The corn grew another foot and tassels have appeared all over Stark County. The beans are growing well also, and they are over 2.5 feet tall. Thirty-i…

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We had a very wet week like most of central Illinois. On Thursday, June 24 we woke up with 5 inches in the rain gauge. Thankfully, it came down over several hours and a lot of it soaked in. The next morning, we had another inch and a half. Spoon River came out to flood most river bottoms for…

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Last Sunday evening, June 19, we finally received a half-inch of rain. That was enough to rescue us from dryness until June 22, when we got another half-inch without wind damage nor hail. The area 30 miles south of Stark County got hammered terribly in the storm of June 18. Lots of trees dow…

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We had a very hot and humid weekend, June 12 and 13. By Monday morning, the humidity disappeared, and the heat was tolerable. Did a Monday morning crop tour and our crops look really good here, but we are becoming dry, also. The corn rows are closed in now and 15-inch soybeans aren’t far awa…

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Last week we experienced a nice rain on Monday. We had an inch at my house, a mile east had 2 inches and a mile south didn’t get any moisture. Yes, that kind of week. We have been cleaning up our planters. The corn planter went to storage Tuesday afternoon and the bean planter made it there …

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We had a pretty good week in Stark County. We had rain showers Monday afternoon that slowed us down but, we’ll take the moisture that presented itself. The drought continues to work eastward toward west central Illinois. Hopefully, it holds off through growing season. Crops all look pretty g…

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We finally had some heat and humidity this week. Crops are starting to grow and some guys have started post-spraying on corn and beans. South Stark County had planters rolling Tuesday morning, but more rain showers after lunch stopped them rudely. The first cutting of hay happened over the w…

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Rain is the theme this week. We are up to 3 inches so far, with small lakes abundant in Stark County. It rained all day on Monday and Tuesday, then finally started to dry out Wednesday. We caught up on some mundane things that we were behind on, and continued cleaning up and maintaining plan…

We finished planting May 8 with storm clouds entering Stark County by evening. By Sunday morning, we had more than 2 inches rain that came slowly overnight and soaked in nicely. We had another shower late Monday afternoon. Needless to say, not much fieldwork was done last week. We cleaned up…

We had another good week in Stark County. We dried out enough to go back to planting corn and beans the weekend of May 1-2. We had another half-inch shower go through late afternoon May 3 that stopped us again. By Wednesday afternoon, we sprayed beans to catch up on that job, and continued i…

We had a great weekend to plant April 24-25. Most everyone was tilling and planting. Monday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the seventies as planting progressed. This continued through Wednesday afternoon when a nice shower came through. We received nearly an inch. I can’t remember …

We’ve had another week on hold as we wait for better conditions to plant in. We’ve had short periods where farmers have been spraying but very little field cultivating and planting. A couple of neighbors were cultivating Monday morning but shut down by noon, as another shower fell. We had sn…

We had about 2.5 inches of rain over five days. Needless to say, no fieldwork has occurred since. I think we can start spraying by Saturday, but the forecast is for more rain through Monday. We’ll just have to wait and see. Cold weather isn’t helping dry the soil out. In fact it’s just mud 3…

Last Monday, the starter’s gun went off and so did many Stark County farmers. Eighty-degree days will do that in April. By Tuesday night, many acres of corn and beans were planted. We stuck to spraying herbicides and liquid fertilizer, while also doing some tillage work. It all came to a hal…

It’s good to be back writing about another season of farming. After a long winter, every farmer in the area is gearing up for spring planting season. Planters have been undergoing inspections and updates in preparation to plant for several weeks now. Sprayers and spray trailers are ready to …