Post-flood crop oddities in Illinois

August 20, 2008

replant-illinois-soy-1014-x-760.jpg    Crop scouts touring corn and soybean fields around the eastern Midwest this week have seen more than their fair share of the bizarre thanks to an abundance of moisture at planting and early in the growing season that forced some growers to cast off conventional farming practices and get creative.
    In eastern Illinois, heavy June rains on top of saturated soils drowned out freshly planted corn in some areas, sometimes more than once.
    The solution to fill those gaps in their valuable farmland? Plant soybeans, which can be seeded later in the season than corn.
    However, harvesting grain from those mish-mosh fields could be challenging. Farmers will have to turn on their GPS steering systems and navigate their combines around islands of corn that were lucky enough to survive the early season washout.
    Even veteran crop scouts that claim to have seen it all were baffled by the sight of one field in Edgar County, Illinois. After pooling water drowned out parts of a corn field, the farmer replanted the areas with soybeans. But some of the corn along the edges of the waterlogged patch survived and emerged along with the soybeans, leaving several overlapping rows with nearly mature grain-yielding corn and soybeans.
    USDA claims to have accounted for washed out acres in their harvested acres estimates, but those uneven swathes of corn and soybeans may still cause headaches for Pro Farmer crop experts on Thursday night when they will gather at the tour’s conclusion to come up with their yield forecast for both crops.

    Photo: Crop scouts Roger Bernard and Doug Miller of Iowa and Ramiro Pereda of Argentina inspect soybeans planted in a corn field that was partially flooded this spring in Edgar County, Illinois.

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