By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — After a disastrous 2012 crop due to drought conditions, Jefferson County farmers are counting on a good bounce back year.
Judging by early reports, it appears this year’s corn and soybeans crops will be plentiful.
“In my area, the crops look good. The corn is excellent,” said Waltonville farmer Jim Laird. “There’s going to be some wet spots, and in those areas where it’s wet, those crops are going to be hurt. All of us that have upland ground should have good crops,” he added.
Laird, who farms about 1,000 acres northwest of Rend Lake, said he normally averages a yield of about 150 bushels or more of corn per year and 45 to 50 bushels of soybeans, and he expects to hit those yield marks this year.
“Except for the areas that have flooded, the crops are excellent,” said Randy Rubenacker of Rubenacker Farms in Hamilton County. “The rain we had last Saturday in Hamilton, White and Saline counties was a general rain, and helped crops that we’re in good shape. Based on everything that I’ve heard, crops here are better than in central and northern Illinois.”
The Rubenackers actually have farm ground in Hamilton, Saline, Wayne and White counties.
Rubenacker said most of the corn that was planted in early fall is looking good.
“The early corn has pollinated and for the most part has made. The latter part is in process of pollinating right now,” he said, adding the first crops were planted in early April.
“We’re planting beans today (Thursday) in the areas that was flooded out. For the most part that is rare for this area,” he said.
Rubenacker predicted the earliest corn could be harvested is late August or the first week in September, adding, “There will be a lot of corn harvested in September.”
According to the latest crop report from the United States Department of Agriculture, Illinois Field Office in Springfield, corn conditions were rated as 46 percent good, 27 percent fair and 19 percent excellent. Only 7 percent of the corn crop was rated poor and 1 percent very poor. Corn average height reached 75 inches — 12 inches taller than the previous week.
Soybeans blooming progressed to 50 percent with soybean conductions rates as 59 percent good, 21 percent fair and 13 percent excellent. Beans were rated as 5 percent poor and 2 percent very poor.
The temperatures across the state averaged 80.7 degrees for the week, 3.9 degrees above normal. There were 6.3 days suitable for field work during the week of July 15, the report stated. Topsoil moisture across the state was rated as 2 percent very short, 25 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.