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Proverbial benchmark arrives with corn crop in good shape

Cool weather could present problems for developing soybean crop

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 9:25 a.m. CDT

As the adage goes, a corn crop that’s knee high by the Fourth of July is poised to be a good one.

And on the cusp of Independence Day, Tasha Bunting, manager of the Grundy County Farm Bureau, believes corn this year will measure up.

“I think we’ll make it,” Bunting said.

After a challenging 2012 that saw the area under drought, the start to this year’s growing season has been quite the opposite.

Illinois saw one of its wettest springs ever during a stretch of memorably heavy rains and unseasonably cool temperatures. This year, 28.7 inches of precipitation has fallen over Illinois, marking the wettest year-to-date in state history, according to the Praire Research Institute.

That pushed planting back, but likely will not have a detrimental effect on the quality or quantity of the corn crop, Bunting said.

It could, however, hurt soybean production.

“Beans are struggling more than the corn,” Bunting said. “Beans need warmer weather. Normal July weather would be good right now.”

Hay production is also low, according to Bunting. That means cattle, dairy and horse farmers may need to look to other nutritional sources for their animals.

Because planting was pushed back due to the weather, harvest will also be later, likely into October, according to Bunting.

According to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Statistics Service, most of the corn and soybean crop is considered “fair” or “good.”

Two percent of the corn crop is considered “very poor,” 5 percent “poor,” 24 percent “fair,” 52 percent “good” and 17 percent “excellent.”

The average corn height is 32 inches.

One percent of the soybean crop is considered “very poor,” 4 percent “poor,” 23 percent “fair,” 58 percent “good,” and 14 percent “excellent.”

According to Bunting, the quality of this year’s yield remains to be seen, but will require the weather to deliver moisture and heat.

“It’s pretty early to tell, but it’s certainly something farmers are watching,” Bunting said. “It’s something that depends on Mother Nature.”

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