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Eastern Corn Belt Far Behind Planting Pace

Can crop overcome challenge two years in a row?

Memorial Day has passed and there's still a lot of corn to plant in the eastern Corn Belt. It's now officially late in the planting season. Last year a similar situation was seen yet it turned out okay. But University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says that's not likely to happen two years in a row.


"Last year's memory is still vivid for people and they planted corn up to the middle of June in parts of central and northern Illinois and still got a good crop. That's not very likely to take place a second year, although we won't rule it out," Nafziger said. "Our biggest concern of course is that showers turn spotty and then kind of stop altogether in some areas, and when we put corn in under these conditions, dry weather after that can really be a problem."


The hard rains early in the season coupled with tractors moving across fields in less than ideal conditions means the soils will be hard and compacted. Even if the corn tries to chase moisture deeper into the soil profile it isn't likely to be successful.


"The problem is we've done enough compaction in some of these fields that the rules probably aren't going to thrive very well," Nafziger said. "Because of the fact that the air has been squashed out of the soil, they have no good place to go."


Time will tell, and so will the yield monitors in the combines, whether or not lighting can strike twice. However; if the eastern Corn Belt is to produce, then July weather had better be near perfect.

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