Due to the extreme weather conditions in Illinois, our corn farmers are all over the map in terms of planting progress, field conditions, and outlook for the crop. This isn’t surprising; farming has always been a risky business that is completely dependent on Mother Nature for its success or failure. Reports from two board members at completely opposite ends of the state illustrate our progress, or lack of progress, best.
Lou Lamoreux of Lanark reports that he is now planting at a rapid pace and will continue until the rains come again. However there is some concern at the freezing temps that come overnight, 31 degrees first thing in the morning on May 3 and 29 degrees first thing on May 4, which won’t harm the seeds, but aren’t good as the corn spikes out of the ground.
On the other end of the state, Richard Gates who farms in Carmi has a very different report. He says, “The Little Wabash River crested today at Carmi at 1" below the all time record set in 1961. We had 5" of rain in two days this week making a total of 11" to 15" in our area in the past two weeks. Don't know when we will ever be able to farm. Now school in the county due to high water with roads closed. I helped my daughter sand bag around the Nursing Home where she is administrator. My son and his family are with us due to high water around their home.”
Also this week, the USDA Planting Progress report offered that Illinois is 10 percent done with planting, a number more on par with the wet planting season in 2008 and 2009 than last year’s 85 percent. However, a quick review of history shows that corn farmers still plan on producing a record setting crop.
On a national level, corn planting is about 25 percent behind the five year average and corn emerged is about four percent behind the five year average.