From the period of March to
June, I recorded almost 20 inches of rain. On top of the amount, the
number of rain events during the period kept things – well, wet.
Living in the northern half of the county, my rainfall paled by
comparison to some in the southern part.
Instead of the recent tradition of planting in April and early May,
most of our acres were planted in the latter parts of May and into
Along comes July, and less than two inches fell at our place, and it
was rather hot as well. Due to many acres being planted much later
than normal, pollination happened to coincide with the hot weather
Many producers wrestled with the option of taking prevented plant
payments through the Federal Crop Insurance Program. June 5th was
considered the last planting date for full coverage under Federal
Crop, and a late planting window with a percent-a-day reduction in
coverage between June 6 and June 25 also existed. After much head
scratching, and some limited breaks in the weather, most acres were
planted in Logan County.
A prominent example from the University of Illinois FAST program
showed prevented plant coverage returning $368 per acre (not
including land costs) and planting corn on June 6th returned $335
under the same scenario.
Of course there are always other considerations, such as the $76 per
acre payment from the Market Facilitation Program (basically a
calculated offset caused by tariffs) only payed on planted acres.
Northern Illinois and states to the east had many more acres of
The agriculture industry remains busy looking for ways to supplement
income for producers and processors. Corn and soybeans have been
predominant in central Illinois for many years, and will continue to
be in the foreseeable future.
However, there is always room for some specialty or alternative
crops on limited acreage. Pumpkins for decoration or processing are
not new, but acreage continues to expand in Logan County. Logan
County is traditionally in the top counties for pumpkin production,
and Illinois is the top state for production due to the location of
the Nestle/Libby pumpkin processing plant in Morton.
Another opportunity is industrial hemp. Several varieties exist with
specific uses including fiber, grain, and CBD oil. Growers applying
for a permit even have to declare what varieties they are intending
to grow. Industrial hemp will present a steep learning curve for
those who wish to give it a whirl as WWII was the last era of
widespread production in central Illinois. Many have compared its
production to growing tobacco with some rather intensive labor
Producers and entrepreneurs continue to look at fruit production,
specialty livestock, honey production, and organic production. All
these enterprises require some market development as mainstream
markets remain limited in our area of the country. The demand side
of the equation continues to grow for locally grown items.
With harvest continuing, yields have been anywhere from a major
disappointment to surprising. While they may be better than expected
over all, they still remain 10 to 20 percent off of last year’s
lofty numbers. Prices offered for corn and soybeans have trended up
some, but the trade situation is still weighing on the markets.
[to top of second column]
One of the major problems
with this year’s farming season, outside of the rain this spring,
was the fact little to no fall work was accomplished last year. Once
again, this was due to wet conditions.
When looking at the
recently released 90 day outlook from the National Weather Service,
this fall looks like above average precipitation and no defined
trend for temperatures (equal chances of above average, normal, and
Is the climate changing? Most would say yes. The debate really
begins when the discussion falls into the differing opinions and
science on what is happening, why it is happening, and what might be
done about it. Humans certainly aren’t helping anything with the
myriad of things we do, such as enact laws that prevent underbrush
removal that later lends fuel to wild fires. There is a reported
cycle of warming and cooling, which has gone on since recorded
events began, and unusual events such as widespread fires and
volcanic eruptions certainly provide fodder for discussion.
If my memory serves me
correctly, local weather service records indicate more torrential
rainfall events, but actually less severe weather (such as
tornadoes) over the past several years.
To sum things up for the growing season, it was a challenging year
with a better than anticipated outcome – at least so far. Producers,
and the agribusinesses which support the producers, accomplished a
tremendous feat this year in producing a crop.
It is remarkable Logan County produced over $245 million in ag
products for 2017 according to the latest Census of Agriculture.
The agriculture industry in Logan County will continue to look for
ways to improve operations, increase income, and remain profitable
in spite of the many uncertainties it faces.
Read all the articles in our
Fall Farm Outlook Magazine