Rain adds a speed bump near harvest finish line

Statewide, an average of 1.75 inches of rain fell in Illinois last week, 1.07 inches above normal. Nonetheless, farmers took another step toward harvest completion, according to this week’s Crop Progress report from USDA.

Corn and soybean harvest remains ahead of schedule. For corn, 80% of the crop is in the bin, a 14-point jump since last week and 4 points better than the five-year average. And farmers have 90% of their soybean harvest complete, compared with 81% last week and 80% for the historic pace.

“There’s getting to be very few fields left,” Jimmy Ayers, FarmWeek CropWatcher from Sangamon County, said Monday morning. “There’s some corn scattered around and some beans. But a lot of the fieldwork has been done. There’s guys putting on anhydrous ammonia; they just started this last week. I noticed the ground temperature got to 50, and I guess they decided it was time to go.”

Winter wheat planting is nearing completion as well. Farmers have planted 89% of wheat fields, with 57% of plants emerged. USDA shows the state’s wheat crop is off to a better start than last year, with 68% rated good to excellent, compared to 45% in those categories at this time in 2019.