Hot dry temperatures continue to plague the tri-states.Very few of us like it, but the heat and lack of rain creates serious headaches for area corn and soybean farmer who are facing another challenging year out in the fields.
To the naked eye the fields are appear to be healthy and growing well.But like many farm related matters...the truth is in the soil." We need rainfall desperately," says University of Illinois Extension Educator Mike Roegee. "No one's gonna argue that point at all. Both corn and soybean producers as well as homeowners gardens, everything needs moisture at this time. Soil moisture situation today is probably no different that it was a year ago. And a year ago we were classified as an extreme drought. We're not classified as that yet, but there's no more moisture today than there was year ago."This situation creates special challenges for Mendon farmer Doug Duncan who says heavy rainfall forced a later start to planting." We had good moisture early, too much moisture in fact," says Duncan. "As we came along crops started looking pretty well, that we had good potential. As it keep getting hotter, the month of August, no rain basically, very little rain in July, it's really taken a toll on things."Duncan says one of the biggest keys to a good yield of corn is the kind of soil it is planted in.He says," We've got what we call tipping back. We're just aborting kernels on the end of the cob there. It was filled out better, but the hot, dry weather, the stalk cannot, it just can't keep them all on there so they start dieing off like that. So as you lose kernels you lose yield. Here's an ear of corn here that was not in a "stressy" area. It hasn't had any more rain but it was on a better soil type. And you can see it's full basically to the end there"Soybeans are facing a hard summer because of the lack of rain." The soybean crop is at a stage now where it's trying to fill pods, fill beans inside pods, there's no moisture to do that." says Roegee. "The plant can hang on another two or three weeks before it's going to become dire, the water needs gonna become dire. So we got a couple of weeks yet on the soybean crop. We're not too concerned about it now as we are the corn crop."
Mike Roegee says that farmers are holding out hope for rainfall before the end of the season.But in the short term the picture does not look good.