FRIDAY: Mostly sunny. High: 15. Morning wind chills -10 to -20. Winds: Northwest 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 1. Winds: Light.
SATURDAY: Increasing clouds. Snow ...
Central Illinois Farmers Leading State in Corn Planting
Many farmers are wrapping up corn planting. According to the latest USDA crop report, corn planting jumped from 32 to 43 percent just in the last week.
Central Illinois farmers are leading the way, having planted more than the rest of the state. At the start of spring, many farmers were worried the cold weather was pushing the start of planting too late, but Mother Nature shaped up, and crop producers hit the ground running.
"We're as good as we could be sitting now," said Jordan Bartels, Crop Specialist for Sunrise Ag in Arenzville.
Central Illinois is leading the race on corn planting in the state.
"I got the corn in in good time and now I'm getting ready to start on beans," said Morgan County farmer Allen Courier.
Bartels said almost 90 percent of corn has been planted, and nearly 60 percent of soybeans.
"I'd say if you took the five, 10 year average, I would say we're right on track," Bartels said.
It's nice change of pace following last spring, when farmers fought wet conditions that pushed planting into June for some.
"It's a lot better than last year. Last year was really late with corn especially on this particular farm," Courier said.
We're finally experiencing sunshine and warmer temperatures, but high winds can be an issue for those at Sunrise Ag.
"We're looking at the radar constantly as far as wind for the company for spraying. We have to hone our sprayers down if it gets windy enough," Bartels said.
More rainfall wouldn't hurt either.
"Subsoil moisture. We still need to replenish what was taking out in the drought of '12. I still think we need some subsoil moisture. I know guys are talking about earlier on this year. The ground was frozen for so hard so long, not a lot of that snow we had melted and went into the soil. It just kind of ran off," Bartels said.
Farmers are relishing the fact that Mother Nature is on their side--for now.
"Last year they had record crops on a lot of farms in this area, so they're running with that energy and seeing what they can do for this year," Bartels said.
So far, the odds are in their favor.
"You have to be positive for everything if you're going to be a farmer," said Courier.
Although farmers would like to see more rainfall, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, no part of Illinois is in any stage of drought for the first time in a very long time.