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Weather helping farmers during harvest

(AP photo)
Gene Bohlen transfers a load of soybeans from the combine to a truck while harvesting an 80-acre field near Washington, Ill., for Bell Bros. Farming of Deer Creek. While the area's (and state's) corn crop will be well off from last year, soybean yields may equal or exceed last year according to Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau.

PEORIA – Good weather has allowed combines to roll, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture says more than three-quarters of the state’s corn crop has aharvested – well ahead of last year’s pace.

And farmers in some spots are finding better results than they had expected of corn grown during one of the worst droughts in decades.

In Peoria County, mostly dry days have helped speed the harvest, and farmers are finding a better return than forecast, Patrick Kirchhofer of the Peoria County Farm Bureau told the Journal Star.

“For the most part, farmers are very happy about the results, considering the weather we received,” Kirchhofer said, noting that Peoria County received some rain in June and July that other parts of the state did not.

With 80 percent of his corn harvested, Ross Pauli of Edwards said he’s surprised by what he’s found.

“We might have 200 bushels of corn an acre on some fields and others below average,” he said.

Soil type was a big factor in determining how well corn produced through the hot, dry summer, according to Kent Kleinschmidt of Emden, about 35 miles south of Peoria.

“When you’re short of rain, it makes a difference. On the flat black stuff, I had decent corn, but on hillsides and rolling ground, I had big acres of zero,” Kleinschmidt said.

Soybeans, which are generally planted and harvested later than corn, were able to take advantage of cooler weather and rains that came in August, Kirchhofer said. He’s gotten reports from some places of farmers harvesting a relatively healthy 50 bushels an acre.

“We’ve also heard of reports in the 60 to 70 bushel per acre range,” he said.


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