CHAMPAIGN – Soil temperatures are warmer than average across Illinois as the spring planting season nears.
Jennie Atkins of the Prairie Research Institute at University of Illinois says temperatures were 10 or more degrees above the long-term average in mid-March.
Farmers monitor soil temperatures as they make planting decisions. Temperatures at four inches under bare soil averaged 56.7 degrees on March 15. That's about 11 degrees higher than last year and 16 degrees higher than average.
Regional averages were 51 degrees in northern Illinois, 56.2 degrees in the central part of the state and 60.6 degrees in the south. Temperatures were warmer at depths of two inches with a statewide average of 57 degrees.
Under sod, soil temperatures averaged 54.5 degrees at depths of four inches and 52.7 degrees at eight inches.