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Illinois farmers make up ground during planting season


(The Center Square) – Illinois farmers have been in catch-up mode during planting season after a wet spring.

As of mid-May, less than half of the corn and soybean crops had been put in the ground.

Mark Schleusener, Illinois State Statistician with the USDA, said statistics show a dry stretch of weather allowed farmers to get some work done.

“Corn planting reached 89% finished,” said Schleusener. “That compares to 84% for the five-year average.”

This week, 81% of the soybean crop had been planted. That is behind last year but still ahead of the five-year average of 73%.

The wet conditions this spring put planting behind schedule in many areas of the state, but Scott Halpin, a farmer in Grundy County, told Brownfield that he wasn’t concerned.

“I think one thing we proved in agriculture is when it does get fit, we can get a lot done in a short amount of time,” Halpin said.

According to the USDA, the condition of the corn that has emerged is rated at 46% good and 26% excellent. Forty-three percent of the soybean crop is in good condition and 22% is in excellent condition which is slightly better than last year.

Illinois is the leading producer of soybeans in the country, and second in the nation in producing corn.

For winter wheat, heading progress reached 96%, surpassing the five-year average of 92%.