Planting enters homestretch in Illinois

Most of the crops are in the ground as planting enters the homestretch the last full week of May.

Illinois farmers planted 90% of corn and 80% of soybeans, 11 and 27 points ahead of the average pace, respectively, as of Monday, the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office reported.

"There's not many complaints for us. Our planting windows have been short, but overall it's done and everything came out of the ground well," Daniel Herriott, FarmWeek CropWatcher from Sidney (Champaign County), told the RFD Radio Network.

"You go a little further south and some had 3-5 inches of rain about a week ago. They're having a lot of replants," he noted. "Knock on wood, we're going to avoid some of that."

Some farmers in northern Illinois also had areas to replant, but for different reasons. Parts of northeast Illinois officially entered drought status this month, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

More chances of scattered rains are forecast this week, which could provide some relief.

Despite the rollercoaster weather conditions so far this spring, crop emergence reached 74% for corn (11 points head of average) and 60% for soybeans (double the average pace) statewide as of Monday.

"The crop overall is looking much better now that it's getting some heat," Herriott said. "Things look a little behind from where they are normally at this time of year, but they just need to catch more growing degree days, and it will grow and catch up."

The temperature averaged 69.8 degrees in Illinois, 4.4 degrees above normal, May 17-24 with highs in the 70s and 80s to start this week. A potential cooldown looms for Memorial Day weekend.