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Farmers Facing Challenges this Season
Central Illinois may not be in a drought this year, but it's still shaping up to be a tough year for farmers. Local farmers say they will likely see a better yield this year than last year, but they've had some setbacks.
Heavy rain early in the year led to late planting. Cooler temperatures right now are slowing growth. Yields will be based largely on location.
"Last year we had a very difficult drought year," local farmer Andy Goleman said. "I think the yields this year in some places will be better. In other places it won't be as good because of the drowned out spots that are out there."
Parts of central Illinois have seen more than eight inches of extra rainfall this year. This time last year, the drought put us about seven and a half inches behind the average, but too much rain caused some major problems as well.
"There were some individuals who planted early in April who did have to come back and do some replanting, but I don't there was a whole lot of that frankly, because I don't think people got in the field," Goleman said.
Goleman said much of his corn did not get planted until May or even June, putting harvest days in October. He says in 2012, some farmers were harvesting right after the state fair.
Another issue plaguing farmers is the unseasonably cool weather. While most people have been enjoying a break from summer heat, local farmers say they're hoping for its return.
"Soybeans, they're struggling right now with this cold weather too," Alan Bailey with the Sangamon County Farm Bureau said. "It's kind of prime for seeing some mold development and things like that. So, everybody’s kind of on the edge of their seat right now."
In the end, this year’s yield may come in later than last year's, but it will bring in much more. Despite the setbacks, Bailey said this will likely be an average year for crops.
"Where we had crop that went from anywhere from zero to 150-160 [bushels] last year, depending on your planting day, we would be looking for hopefully at 150 to 200 bushels this year," Bailey said.
Those numbers are subject to some other factors. Goleman said if we don't get enough growing temperature days for crops to catch up, then an early frost could be a big problem this fall.
He said that could be devastating to crops still in the ground, and the later the harvest, the more that concern grows.
To help crops catch up, temperatures need to reach the mid-80s consistently. Just in the past week, overnight lows have dropped to record-breaking temperatures.