Rain, Cold Hampering Illinois Harvest

 
Rain, Cold Hampering Illinois Harvest

Wet, cool conditions across much of Illinois have put farmers behind schedule in bringing their corn in from the fields, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Illinois corn growers through Sunday had only managed to harvest 2 percent of their crop, down 12 percentage points from the average of the previous five years, the USDA said in its weekly crop progress report Monday. Last year at this time, just 1 percent of the state's crop was reaped.

The USDA blamed rainfall averaged 2.3 inches statewide last week, nearly an inch above normal. The autumn-like temperatures didn't help, averaging 59.8 degrees — more than nine degrees below normal.

Roughly half of the Illinois corn crop was rated as good while 31 percent was deemed to be excellent.

The USDA said last month it expected the nation's corn growers to bring in by far the largest harvest ever this year — nearly 14.4 billion bushels, up from last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.

The forecast yield of 172 bushels per acre is significantly higher than the previous record set in 2009 of 165 bushels per acre.

Record yields will be set in 18 states, the USDA said, and 10 states including the nation's top three producers — Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska — have the highest number of ears per corn stalk ever.

A massive harvest has been expected this year as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions.

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