The issues in Northern Illinois are widespread this year. DeKalb County, Ill. farmer Tracy Jones says he battled imperfect conditions from the start.
“April 21 is when this was planted,” said Jones as he pointed to corn near his house. “This was one of our first fields we planted. The issue with our earlier corn is it stood through all the rains."
Rains inundated fields with moisture, creating empty holes in some fields.
“We didn't have large washed out areas, but we had small spots from a lot of moisture damage," said Jones.
The unprecedented conditions created a year of firsts for Jones, who has farmed for decades.
“I think we only planted one or two days in the month of May,” Jones said. “Then we have about 600 acres of June corn, which was planted June 8 and 9.”
Jones was forced to take prevent plant on 20% of his acres. He says it’s the prevent plant piece of the puzzle, plus a late planted crop, that’s a common occurrence in DeKalb County.
“It’s a moving target. It really is. I'm actually more concerned probably about my soybean yields,” said Jones. “My beans are really short.”
Jones is concerned about his soybeans, but more optimistic about his corn, even the corn planted in June.
“The late plan corn actually looks very even,” said Jones. “It came up very quickly.”
The quick emergence helped the crop early; a crop that struggled to find moisture in July. However, rains have since started, sprouting more hopes for Jones. His biggest concern is how immature the later planted crop continues to be.
From northern Illinois to central Illinois, as scouts hit the fields, they saw some of their best fields yet.
“So far we’ve seen a pretty good bean fields,” said Mark Bernard, Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour eastern leg agronomist. “They were some of the better beans I’ve sampled on this tour anyway.”
A better crop this year, but comparing it to Ohio and Indiana where the yield bar was set low. Bernard says in Marshall County, Ill, fields produced a more mature corn crop, but yields were still variable.
“It’s a pretty nice looking corn on my route,” said Bernard. “It dented finally, which has not been real common either.”
Bernard says it has good potential, but it’s an area that typically sees stronger yields.
“There’s some pretty good farmland right in through here, generally speaking,” he said. “So, it’s nice to see these guys at least have a crop this year, as opposed to other places in the state where there is no crop at all.”
Another bright spot in Illinois is the lack of disease and pest pressure to date.
“There really aren’t a heck of a lot of pest issues out there this year, and that’s been kind of a nice change,” Bernard said. “It doesn’t always happen that way.”
A variable crop with scouts eager to see how the law of averages plays out this year.