While they aren’t seeing the catastrophic losses of the most hard-hit areas, northern Illinois farmers are still expecting a significantly reduced corn crop as a result of this summer’s drought. The outlook for soybeans isn’t so clear. Farmers are keeping their fingers crossed.
Paul Rassmussen farms both corn and soybeans in DeKalb County. He says it’s still too early to predict what kind of soybean harvest it will be.
Guys have some hope for them, that they’ll be not as depreciated as the corn crop is. We really don’t know what we’ve got for soybeans out there. They’re a very hard crop to tell exactly what yields will be ahead of time.
But Rassmussen says there’s some reason for optimism, because of how the plant’s growth cycle differs from that of corn.
If you get hit with really hot weather in mid-July that’s more critical for corn, if it was happening in mid-August that’d be more critical typically for soybeans. We’ve had cooler weather for the soybeans, so that’s been a positive.
Lately, the region has also seen some scattered rainfall. Rassmussen says that helps as the crop enters its final stages.
Rassmussen says another factor that could have an effect is the accelerated growing calendar this year. With the mild winter and early warm-up, many plants have been, as he puts it, "racing to maturity." Indeed, soybeans in many northern Illinois fields are already beginning to turn yellow - a sign that harvest time for the crop is fast approaching. That’s much earlier than usual for the area.