Throughout much of Illinois and most of the Corn Belt, conditions continue to produce what growers say is one of the best crop seasons to date. Former Illinois Farm Bureau president Philip Nelson last week was driving to a conference in Springfield and was amazed at what he saw.
"There is some of the best corn I’ve seen in a number of years; and the beans, well, what else can you say about the beans? The way they look right now, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see yield records," he said.
The latest crop report from the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) for Illinois through July 14 supports Nelson’s visual assessment; corn and soybeans are in great shape so far.
Growing conditions have played a key part in crop progress, said Emerson Nafziger, a crop scientist from the University of Illinois. He noted temperatures this season during the pollination stage have yielded the third-coolest pollination period in the past 34 years. At harvest time, the seasons with the top two coolest pollination periods set yield records.
"If we don’t have the extreme heat and drought-like conditions leading into next month, we’ll be looking at pretty good harvest numbers," he said.
Temperatures leading up to July 14 were 5.4 degrees cooler than normal, at 66.1 degrees. Rainfall for the week averaged about 1.27 inches, slightly above normal for the same period of time, according to the NASS report.
Emerged soybeans stood at 89 percent, well ahead of the five-year average of 89 percent. Overall conditions for beans were rated at 72 percent good to excellent. Three-quarters of the state’s corn crop was rated as good to excellent.
Moisture levels throughout the state also remain healthy, with topsoil moisture rated at 80 percent adequate and subsoil moisture 78 percent adequate.
By Steve Binder