Illinois farmers uncertain how weather could affect crops

Illinois farmers uncertain how weather could affect crops (file photo)

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) -- Unseasonably high temperatures have allowed Illinois farmers to work in the fields, but many of them are wondering how the weather will affect their crops and orchards.

The Illinois State Climatologist Office says February's statewide average temperature was 40.1 degrees as of Tuesday. Warmer-than-normal temperatures are forecast for the first half of March, too.

State climatologist Jim Angel says the temperatures have raised concerns that a sudden freeze could damage orchards and other crops.

Auburn grain farmer Tim Seifert says his crops are four weeks ahead of schedule as corn planted on a half-acre test plot has begun to come up. He says farmers also have begun preparing for spring planting.

Jeff Flamm, co-owner of Flamm Orchards south of Carbondale, says his peach and apple trees are well ahead of schedule.

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