June 19 – Anyone who lives near a farm field in Illinois already knows that the state’s corn and bean crops are off to a great start.
The numbers are clear. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Mark Schleusener said that 81 percent of the Illinois’ corn crop is good or excellent, and 77 percent of beans are the same.
The fields across Illinois tell the same story. In most places, Schleusener said, they are green and full. “The next thing that will happen in corn – once it’s gone through a lot of vegetative growth, growing tall, putting out a lot of leaves to soak up sunlight – it’s going to go into reproductive mode,” Schleusener said. “That’s when it starts silking.”
Illinois fields will then get a golden tint to all that green.
The heat, so far, hasn’t been much trouble for farmers. Rain is a different matter, Schleusener said. “There are some places, that if you go southeast of Springfield, that are probably suffering from too much rain,” Schleusener said. “And because Illinois is a big state, there are areas on the western side of the state that don’t have enough moisture in the soil.”
Schleusener said that if farmers could control the forecast they’d prefer a slow inch of rain each week this summer with warm days and slightly cooler nights.