Rains make little difference in crop conditions

SPRINGFIELD — A little rain last week added moisture to the state's topsoil, but the prospects for Illinois corn and soybean crops didn't improve, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

As of Sunday, 74 percent of the state's corn crop was rated poor or very poor, up from 71 percent the previous week, the department said.

Fifty-seven percent of the Illinois soybean crop was deemed poor or very poor, up from 56 percent last week.

Statewide, only 5 percent of the topsoil had adequate moisture. But that was better than the state's eastern region, which includes the Champaign-Urbana, Danville and Kankakee areas.

In that region, none of the topsoil had adequate moisture. Seventy-four percent of topsoil was very short on moisture, and 26 percent was short.

Here's the breakdown of ratings on corn and soybean crop conditions:

— Corn: Zero percent excellent, 4 percent good, 22 percent fair, 32 percent poor, 42 percent very poor.

— Soybeans: 1 percent excellent, 9 percent good, 33 percent fair, 29 percent poor, 28 percent very poor.

Crop insurance session set for Aug. 21

CHAMPAIGN — An Illinois Farm Bureau expert on risk management will answers questions about crop insurance at a session slated for Aug. 21 at the Champaign County Farm Bureau auditorium.

Doug Yoder, the organization's senior director of affiliate and risk management, will also discuss how farm bill proposals could affect farming operations.

The session is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the auditorium, located at 801 N. Country Fair Drive, C.

Squash bugs seen on squash, melons

URBANA — Squash bugs have been showing up in squash, melons and pumpkins throughout the area, and the University of Illinois Extension staff is suggesting several ways to get rid of them before next year.

The bugs suck sap from plants and feed on their fruits, causing moderate to severe plant damage, a UI release said.

The feeding damage causes spots, yellowing and browning of leaves and fruits and can destroy a plant's runners or side shoots.

Ways to reduce damage in coming years include:

— Cleaning up leaf piles, logs and garden debris, where adult bugs can overwinter.

— Changing the location of squash plants from year to year, or skipping a growing season.

— Laying down wooden boards to lure adult bugs away from plants.

— Inspecting plants and picking off eggs, adult bugs and younger nymphs.

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