Wet and waiting: When rain ends, assessment of soggy fields can begin

Iroquois County farmer Ron Haase isn’t big on worrying about things outside his control. Rather than stressing about the outlook for commodity prices, for example, Haase says he’s kept busy this spring with whatever he could do to get his crops off to the best start possible.

“Worrying about it doesn’t do me too much good,” Haase told the RFD Radio Network®. “So we’ve been trying to get the crop in and getting a good herbicide plan and getting it applied.

Unfortunately, though, the CropWatcher from Gilman has a new thing to not worry about: how much more moisture will fall on his fields after being saturated over the weekend.

According to Monday’s crop progress report from USDA, Illinois farmers remain ahead of the five year-average on corn planting (83%), soybean planting (59%) and soybean emergence (21%). Corn emergence lags the historic pace at 43%.

The report also rated half of all Illinois topsoil surplus on moisture.

Now Haase, who finished planting May 13, will wait and see which fields emerge and which drown.

“Yesterday, we dumped out 2.3 inches (from the rain gauge), and if you add the prior couple days, we were up to 3.7,” Haase said Monday. “I know there were some rains that went north of us that we missed prior to that, so I’m sure there’s people that have more than what we received.”

Statewide, an average of 2.43 inches of rain fell last week, but amounts escalated from southwest to northeast. The northeast section of the state received 3.86 inches for the week.

As a result, fields that looked more like lakes than cropland were a common sight.

This week’s forecast calls for more storms.

“Farming is kind of this way. We’re always dealt a different hand of cards every year, and you just have to react and do the best with the hand you have,” Haase said.

“Now, having farmed this many years, you’ve hopefully developed the skills to mentally deal with the extremes of each year and keep a positive mindset and keep going forward. Our occupation forces us to develop a mentality like that.”