Illinois Crops Race against Time

August 10, 2013 10:24 PM

Editor’s Note: This is a preview of one of the seven states the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour will visit on Aug. 19-22. See the complete State-by-State Preview of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

Corn and soybean crops in Illinois appear to be in pretty good shape. The latest USDA crop condition report rates 68% of corn and 70% of the soybean crops is in good to excellent condition. Some reports of potential record yields in central Illinois are even making the rounds.

illinoisBut a double whammy of late planting and continued cool temperatures has raised questions about whether the crops will reach maturity and harvest moisture before first frost. Central Illinois has a first frost date of about Oct. 20, according to Dr. Emerson Nafziger, an agronomist with the University of Illinois

Crop development remains well behind normal, says Nafziger, who estimates that corn is 10 days to 2 weeks behind schedule and soybeans are running 2 to 3 weeks behind.

"We would expect a mid-season corn hybrid planted in early June to mature before frost, if frost does not occur before its normal date. Corn planted in mid-June is unlikely to mature before frost if temperatures are normal and frost comes at its normal time."

Nafziger points out that while the northern part of the state "might seem to be in more danger, the crop there was planted earlier and hybrids there are earlier, so there's not much difference [in vulnerability] between it and Central Illinois.

While soybean crops had a healthy dark green appearance in August, they are imperiled by late pod setting. If temperatures remain cooler than normal, and clouds continue to inhibit photosynthesis, crops won’t reach maturity until late September or early October, Nafziger estimates.

"The best scenario for soybeans would be a return to normal or above normal temperatures – both day and night – with enough rainfall to enable the crop to photosynthesize fully as seeds fill. Even with that, we’re in for a wait to see how the crop finishes this fall."


For More Information
See full coverage of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.

Farmers throughout the United States can participate online by entering their own corn measurements into Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour tool. Available online during Crop Tour week, each participant will get a personalized yield estimate, expanding Midwest Crop Tour participation to corn growers nationwide.


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