Illinois farmers see healthy beginning to harvest
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Crops are maturing more quickly in Illinois this year compared to 2017, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The agency’s most recent Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report estimates that 75 percent of the corn crop was mature by Sept. 16, compared to 37 percent last year. The average over the last five years was 47 percent.
The report estimates that 87 percent of soybeans had begun turning color by Sept. 16, while 67 percent started changing color by that time last year. The average over the last five years was 62 percent.
About 12 percent of corn and 4 percent of soybeans have been harvested so far, above the seasonal average, the agency said.
“There’s not much harvested in the southern part of the county, the Glasford and Elmwood areas — they’re just getting started,” said Patrick Kirchofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau. “They’ve probably been running for a week or so in the Brimfield and Princeville areas.”
The recent hot and dry weather is perfect for harvesting, Kirchofer said. A naturally dried crop is more profitable because it doesn’t need to be heated at a grain elevator.
“Ideally we want those soybeans to dry down to 13 percent moisture, that’s the perfect moisture it will harvest,” said farmer John Ackerman. “The corn depends on what the value of the crop is. When it gets down to around 20 percent it’s time to drop the flag and start going.”
Ackerman said he believes farmers are going to have a good yield this year.
“I think we are way ahead of the game,” he said. “I think we are a week ahead of where we should be.”