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‘Spotty’ rainfall helps and hurts farmers

‘We have one of our best crops potential that we’ve had in a long time,’ farmer says

Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, June 29, 2013 1:38 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Water from the heavy rains early in the week still was standing in a field near Nelson Thursday afternoon. Those persistent puddles have slowed crop development for some farmers.

Recent rainfall came at a good time for farmers in the area, with some areas getting just the rain they needed and others getting too much.

Jim Sheaffer farms between Polo and Dixon.

“Right in our area, we were starting to get dry,” Sheaffer said. “We needed the rain. It was very spotty. Where we live, we got about 4.5 inches total. It’s come at enough different times where it hasn’t done too much damage.”

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, fieldwork was stopped and crop development was slowed by heavy rain throughout the state.

“Corn and soybean growth has been progressing, though some rows are uneven in height due to flooding in fields,” the service said in its most recent weekly report, released June 24. “Disease has been spotted in corn and wheat because of the excess rain.”

The service rated 50 percent of corn conditions as good, and 17 percent excellent; and 51 percent of soybean conditions as good, 18 percent excellent.  

Dan Koster, whose farm is a few miles west of state Route 40 on Science Ridge Road, said his crops received about 3.5 inches of rain right when they needed it.

“I would stay that we have one of our best crops potential that we’ve had in a long time,” he said. 

For some farmers, the heavy rain resulted in standing water in some areas, leading to slowed crop development.

“A week ago, crops looked very well,” said Andy Pratt, whose farm is between Dixon and Amboy. “We were starting to get a little dry and could use a little rain. The rain we’ve gotten the last few days has been excessive.”

While Pratt estimated only 10 percent of his crops were in areas of standing water or areas that received too much rainfall, he said the best case for the next 10 days would be temperatures in the 80s, with plenty of sunshine.

The ground is at “capacity,” he said, and any additional rain would likely go to waste. That rain would be better served in July, he said.

The National Weather Service reported chances of showers and thunderstorms Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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