MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Dry weather in the Twin Cities could soon start affecting the growing season for local farmers.
The USDA lists most of McLean County as abnormally dry based on the amount of rainfall the area has received.
Rodney Weinzierl, the executive director of IL Corn, said right now is a critical stage for corn crops. Weinzierl said last week or so, pollination began for corn crops and plays a major role in telling the yields for the harvest season.
On average, Weinzierl said farmers hope to see three to four inches of rain a month in the summer.
“We could use the rain over the next week or two, or we could begin to suffer some top-end yield loss,” Weinzierl said.
Weinzierl said right now it’s too soon to predict what the yields will be for the corn crops, but expects it to be in pretty good shape.
“I would say right now, the corn crop is still probably an average to an above average crop, but the next few weeks will really determine that. An inch or two of rain over the next two weeks will probably make 80-85% of the crop,” Weinzierl said.
Arin Rader, owner of Rader Farms grows corn, soybeans, pumpkins and sunflowers at his far. He said right now the below-average rainfall from June that has carried over into July is impeding the growth of his soybean crops.
“It’s been taking longer without the rain to canopy the rows, and so we’re getting more sunlight down to the ground, which dries out the ground quicker,” Rader said.
Pumpkin crops at the farm are also taking longer than usual to “canopy” due to the rain, according to Rader. Rader said insects also become a problem during the dryness because they look for other places to get cool if the grass dries up.
“The bugs move into fields and start eating leaves and all that does is reduce your leaf area where you get your photosynthesis,” Rader said.
According to the USDA, last year at this same time McLean County was listed as not having any abnormal dryness.
Their next weekly report comes out Thursday.