Illinois crop conditions lag neighboring states

Early soybeans grow in Marshall County. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

With his planting season in the rearview mirror, Livingston County farmer Mark Kerber’s outlook on his crops has brightened substantially since earlier this spring when persistent rains drowned out many fields.

“It’s just been a stressful spring, and all the farmers can say that,” said the FarmWeek CropWatcher from Chatsworth. “Nobody likes to replant. … So it’s good to be done with that. Get the spraying done and then we can kind of relax.”

The volume of acreage that required a second round of seeds likely impacted Illinois’ most recent crop condition ratings from USDA. Monday’s Crop Progress Report rated 10% of the state’s corn in the poor or very poor categories. That equates to more than 1 million acres.

Some of Illinois’ neighbors are in similar situations.

In Indiana, for example, 8% of the crop is rated poor to very poor. In Missouri, it’s 7%.

Other states are faring better, however, such as Iowa (2%), Wisconsin (3%) and Kentucky (3%).

At the other end of the scale, 63% of Illinois’ corn is considered good or excellent, compared with 66% in Indiana, 63% in Missouri, 83% in Iowa, 82% in Wisconsin and 83% in Kentucky.

Kerber said many fields in his area required replanting, but the decision appears to be paying off as plants emerge into strong stands.

“The beans look good; we’ve got a perfect stand,” he told the RFD Radio Network. “Corn’s a little suspect; there’s some thin stands. A lot of replant. But the replant’s all up; everybody’s done with that. And we’ll see if we can get some timely rains.”

USDA pegged 8% of Illinois soybeans as poor to very poor and 64% as good or excellent.

Other findings from USDA’s weekly report include:

  • 96% of the corn crop has emerged, well ahead of last year’s pace of 67%.
  • 84% of soybeans have emerged, compared with 43% last year.
  • 3% of the state’s winter wheat crop has been harvested.
  • 23% of topsoil moisture is considered short, with 74% rated adequate.

Mild temperatures and below-average rainfall has offered good conditions for spraying recently, and Kerber is taking advantage.

“It’s a nice day. I wish the wind wasn’t blowing so strong for spraying,” he said Monday morning. “Everybody is spraying and sidedressing nitrogen.”