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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Scott County is seeing a cool and wet spring planting season. As a result, many local farmers are behind schedule as far as getting their corn and bean crops in the ground.
Pike-Scott Farm Bureau Board Vice-President Wayne Brown said Wednesday, that while a majority of planting is done for the spring, a significant portion of the county has remained too wet to plant.
“I’d say we are probable about 75% done,” Brown said. “The bottoms are wet, and there are still a lot of other wet spots that need to be addressed. And unfortunately there are a lot of weeds in some areas. There’s still a decent amount of acreage that needs addressed.”
Brown added that some farmers have yet to begin planting this year’s soybean crop, and some others have been forced to replant portions of the bean crop.
“We’ve got some guys, who are way behind, just starting to plant beans,” Brown said. “There hasn’t been a lot of replant, but there were some areas that had some hard soil that didn’t see the crop emerge.”
Last year’s spring, according to Brown, allowed farmers to get into the field much earlier than this year.
“Last year we had a good run early, and we got a lot in in April,” Brown said.
In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as of May 22 of last year, 89% of the Illinois corn crop had already been planted, and 79% percent of the soybean crop had been planted. According to NASS data, Illinois Farmers are running well behind those marks this year.
Brown says that farmers are accustomed to variations in weather patterns from year to year.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve probably had five wet springs,” Brown said. “It’s about 50-50. It just stayed cold too long this spring. It was just in the 60s, and it’s almost summer.”
Although the season has gotten off to a relatively slow start, Brown remains optimistic about the year.
“The good news is that we’ve got good soil moisture, which we’ll need for the growing season,” Brown said. “Warm weather will help dry out the rest of the wet ground. If you can get some heat, sun, and wind, then you can get into the field.”
Brown anticipates good commodity prices to remain in place for farmers this year, but he said prices for seed, fertilizer, and pesticides/herbicides remain very high as well.
“Pricing is good,” Brown said. “But input prices are outrageous, so pricing has to be good. You used to have to have $3 corn to get by, and now you need $6 corn just to get by.”
The less than ideal spring, Brown indicated, would likely contribute to keeping corn and bean prices high.
“This year, it’s technically not planted to be the best that it can be,” Brown said. “Soybeans – they want those in as soon as possible. So I don’t think we’ll see bin buster yields. I think the prices will maybe steady.”