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      Tri-State crops thirst for rain

      A drought has blanketed almost 70 percent of Illinois according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

      A drought has blanketed almost 70 percent of Illinois according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And farmers in the Tri-States are beginning to see it in their crops.

      "Some of the later planted soybeans are looking really raggedy," John Schmidt said. "Some of them went in dry, and some of them haven't even seen the rain and some of them are lying in dry dirt."

      Ursa farmer John Schmidt says he still sees potential in his corn despite the lack of rain. But his soybeans are hurting, and all he can do is hope for rain.

      "Those that can irrigate that have irrigation equipment, I'm sure are running full-bore with that," Schmidt said. "But up here on the bluff, I just don't know anybody that has enough water supply to irrigate so we're just totally relying on mother nature."

      According to the National Weather Service, the Tri-State area could fall between 40 to 50 percent below normal in precipitation for the period of June 27 to July 1, 2012.

      "The weather we had on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of this week was hot and windy and that was really tough of it," John Benz said. "So the next few weeks are really critical on corn and probably a month later, late July, August, it will be critical for the soybeans in terms of if we get rain by then and how they develop."

      Crop yields decrease each week that passes with no rain. John Benz with the Ursa Farmers' Co-op says a good yield for corn is 200 bushels per acre and soybeans - 50 bushels per acre.

      "Farmers could be looking at half the potential yield if it doesn't start raining soon or getting more rain," Benz said.

      Still, farmers hope for rain. If all else fails, there is crop insurance as a last resort.

      "I'd rather not collect on that crop insurance, I'd rather have a normal crop, but in case that we don't get the rain I'll put in for a crop insurance like I did that last two years on the corn," Schmidt said.