ROCHELLE – When looking to the horizon over the fields, by this time the corn should be about shin high and soybeans starting to peak out of the ground. But now, all there is are bare fields flooded with water or crops trying to grow around giant puddles.
This May has been the wettest on record and all the farmers can do is wait and hope it stops raining. History shows that every day past May 15 the farmers wait to plant, they start to see yield loss. If they get everything planted by June 5, that loss is approximately 30 bushels per acre.
“I have never seen anything quite like this, we get one or two dry days and then it comes again, it’s a cycle that doesn’t end,” said David Casey, a local drainage contractor.
Ogle County Farm Bureau Director Ron Kern said the amount of rain and flooding in the area over the past month, has impacted residents and local workers as well.
“By now farmers usually have 96 percent of their corn and 75 percent of their soybeans planted, right now they have only 48 percent of their corn and 18 percent of their soybeans in,” explained Kern. “We expect to see the largest amount of unplanted acreage on record.”
Area farmers who have been farming the land their whole lives have experienced many things, but nothing ever quite like this spring.
“This is the worst I have seen in my entire lifetime,and I have been farming since the middle 1970s,” said Rick Canfield, of Oregon.
The massive amounts of rain and flooding farmers have experienced this season is not limited to Illinois, but is affecting nearly every state in the corn belt. According to an analysis conducted by Accuweather, 17 of the 18 corn and soybean producing states are behind in planting, compared to the 2014-2018 averages.
“Some farmers could have planted earlier when it was drier,” said Ron Kern, director of the Ogle County farm bureau. “Other parts farther east haven’t even turned a wheel, and some fields that were planted have flooded.”
While the flooding has impacted the farmer’s yield and expected harvest in a negative way this season, it may actually help them in the future.
“I don’t want to say it, but we actually needed this. It has already helped raise the prices for next season,” explained Canfield.
Some farmers have switched to a shorter season hybrid corn seed, while others are looking into their crop insurance. The weather outlets are also predicting to not get the late summer heat needed for growing. No matter how the farmers are shifting, this will be a year for the books.
“This growing season is going to be one that will be very interesting to watch,” expressed Kern. “All we can do is keep our chins up, pull up the bootstraps and get through this.”