(MCT) — If beggars can't be choosers, then Kevin Stumpf is trying to defy logic.
The Belleville farmer is grateful for what amounted to about three-tenths of an inch of rain that fell on his corn and soybeans fields last weekend, but he really could use more.
"It helped," the 49-year-old farmer said. "It helped for about three or four days, but we need to catch another rain this weekend."
The forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for a 30 percent chance of storms by Saturday. But according to Illinois' number one crop insurance provider, it may already be too late.
Many farmers just south and east of the metro-east area already lost this year's crops. Illinois Farm Bureau spokesman John Hawkins said the farm bureau director from Bond and Fayette counties reported that farmers in the Vandalia and Greenville areas recently declared crop failures for the season. He said time may be running out for metro-east farmers.
"There were some rain showers, but it may have come too late for the corn," Hawkins said. "It probably helped soybeans better than the corn. Time is going to tell. There were some scattered showers this past weekend down in Randolph County around Red Bud where there were nice heavy rains that helped out a little, but it's kind of getting past the point of no return to helping corn crops as far as pollination. We're getting close to the end of the pollination stage. If the crops are not pollinated properly, there is nothing that can be done."
The top crop insurance provider in the state, Country Financial in Bloomington, reported to have received 330 claims from Illinois farmers as of Wednesday.
St. Clair County and Madison County Farm Bureau Manager Tom Jett said the recent rainfall was isolated and left as much as three inches of precipitation to the south in neighboring Monroe County and less than an inch in some areas in St. Clair County.
"That helps them quite a bit, but if you get down to the southeast part of the county, in Freeburg, they didn't get anything," Jett said. "There, it's just getting more serious."
The drought is the worst in almost a quarter century, and farmers in Illinois have been feeling the heat as extreme warm weather continues. Almost one-third of the nation's corn crop already is showing signs of damage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report predicting that farmers will get only a fraction of the corn anticipated last spring
Last week, Stumpf was considering the possibility of losing his crops in Belleville if rain had not come last weekend. This week, he is begging for more and does not want to think about the choices he will face if more rain fails to fall.
"Otherwise, we're back where we were," he said. "It's just a tough call."