By Charlyn Fargo
Water, water everywhere is how most farmers are describing their fields this summer.
And all that water is standing in fields, preventing some farmers in the state from finishing planting and others wishing they could replant crops.
The state Agricultural Statistics Service reports crop conditions continue to deteriorate with the portions of crops rated poor/very poor in Illinois at 15 percent of soybeans, 11 percent of corn and 24 percent of the wheat crop.
State Climatologist Jim Angel states that rainfall throughout June has officially made the month Illinois’ wettest June in recorded state history. State records go back to 1895.
Angel said that the statewide average rainfall total for the month was 8.91 inches. That tops the previous record June in 1902, when 8.27 inches of rain fell.
All that rain has put soybean planting and cutting hay on hold.
And it’s not just in Illinois. University of Illinois agricultural economist John Newton says there are still 12 million unplanted soybean acres. It’s just been too wet for farmers to get in the fields to finish planting.
In Illinois, topsoil moisture supply is rated at 1 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 40 percent surplus by the State Ag Statistics Service. Farmers don’t have to worry about subsoil moisture either – it’s at 4 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 24 percent surplus.
Current corn conditions are rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 19 percent excellent. Soybeans planted reached 90 percent, 4 percent behind last year and 2 percent behind the 5-year average. Soybeans emerged reached 84 percent, 4 percent behind last year but 3 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean condition was rated 2 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 58 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.
The latest round of pounding storms over much of the Midwest have finally caught the market’s attention and crop prices are on the rise.
“We’ve come from a time frame of little anxiety in the grain markets (due to expectations of more than ample supplies),” David Hightower, president of The Hightower Report, said last week during a webinar hosted by the CME Group.
“Now, there’s a massive amount of uncertainty (pertaining to crop stocks),” he continued. “That’s a clear signal of volatility.”
There’s not much farmers can do about the situation except watch the markets – hope they have a crop to sell – and wait patiently for the sun to start shining and the water to recede.
Like farmers in Morgan County, Steve Ayers, a farmer in Champaign County, said a lot of the crop isn’t dying yet, but there is simply too much water – and more on the way. He does a windshield tour daily, making sure his weed control is working, continuing to monitor things and hoping the crops survive.
“There’s just a lot of water standing. Rain makes grain, but you reach a point of too much of a good thing.”