I-80 Planting Tour: Eastern Illinois Farmers Say They're In Good Shape

April 29, 2015 03:56 PM
I-80 Planting Tour: Eastern Illinois Farmers Say They're In Good Shape

It’s a sign spring has arrived, but for some like Mark Wills, the right spring planting conditions arrived early.

"I'd say we're in good shape at this present time," said Mazon, Illinois farmer, Mark Wills.

The farmer from Mazon, Illinois says he’s about half-way done planting corn and hopes to start planting soybeans early next week.

"In our area, there are some farmers who are completely done with corn," said Wills.

He says some finished planting corn last week. While others, neighbors only 10 miles North haven’t started. That’s because of last week’s below freezing temperatures and an inch of rain.

“The soil is a little wet,” said Wills.

Wills says a perfect fall helped the no-till and conventional farmer stay ahead of spring field work.

"Our fall last year was excellent. We usually chisel everything. We got all of our stalk ground chiseled that’s going into corn on corn. We were ready for this spring to go in to work it once and plant,” said Wills.

Wills is planting earlier than he did last spring. Last year brought lots of rain early on.

“We had three different plantings and we finished up May 15 with corn,” said Wills.

It’s that one wet season, that helped carry on the tradition of big yields.

“If we could raise 170 to 180 bushel corn, we’ll be happy. If we produce 55 to 60 bushel beans, that would make a decent year,” said Wills.

Thirty minutes East, Jim Robbins is hoping for some sunshine and heat.

“We’re fifty miles from Lake Michigan so one of the things we do here is stay a little cooler because we get the lake effect coming in here,” said Robbins.

The no-till, strip till farmer says he’s half-way done with corn.

“Conditions for that were ideal,” said Robbins.

He plants to start soybeans at the end of the week. This is what’s put him on hold. A much needed half-inch of rain and unwelcome freezing temperatures.

“The growing point is going to be up so and it’s going to be slow coming out of the ground. No, I’m not really concerned at this time because looking forward, we’re talking warmer to come in the next week or two," said Robbins.

He hopes those excellent yields his neighborhood is known for, continues.

"We're looking for 200 bushel corn every year. That's what we're looking for with 60 bushel soybeans. When we go out with the planter, that's what we're looking for," said Robbins.

Last year’s fall certainly helped him achieve that.

“I know a lot of areas were wet but we had a perfect fall,” said Robbins.

It’s that weather and yield farmers hope for every year, from the time they dust off the planter to when they move it back into the shop.

Both guys started planting around April 15. Robbins says he’s sticking to his regular rotations this year. That makes him heavy corn. Wills says he switched up his rotations and will plant more beans as a way to tackle high input costs of corn.

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Spell Check

Brian King
Marion, IN
5/3/2015 09:23 AM

  NE Indiana just started rolling 5/2. No corn or beans planted till then. These type of articles reinforce that all is perfect and there is no reason for markets to price in weather premium. Both sides are not being told.

Scottsbluff, NE
4/30/2015 12:35 PM

  I just talked to a guy in Indiana and he said they were less than 5% planted there??????

Chappell, NE
4/30/2015 09:01 AM

  That's it - do stories like these that are certain to push low prices even lower. Do you work for USDA?


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