SPRINGFIELD — About 21 percent of the Illinois corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, while only about 1 percent of the soybeans were in, the Illinois Department of Agriculture reported.
In southern parts of the state, harvest was much further along, with anywhere from 36 percent to 47 percent of the corn crop harvested, depending on the region.
In the state's eastern region, which includes the Champaign-Urbana, Danville and Kankakee areas, only about 16 percent of corn was harvested as of Sunday.
Last week's rain may have helped soybeans, but didn't improve corn conditions.
Seventy-five percent of the corn statewide was rated either poor or very poor. Twenty percent was deemed fair and only 5 percent good.
In contrast, only 42 percent of soybeans were rated poor or very poor. Observers said 39 percent was fair, 18 percent good and 1 percent excellent.
Thanks to the rain, 83 percent of topsoil in the state's eastern region had adequate moisture, while 17 percent was short on moisture.
More rain is needed, however, for subsoils to get adequate moisture.
In the state's eastern region, 30 percent of subsoils had adequate moisture, 56 percent were short of moisture and 14 percent were very short.
Department celebrates top ranking
URBANA — The head of the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering said there's good reason its undergraduate program was ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report this week.
"Best Colleges 2013" placed the Illinois program in a tie with Purdue University for the top spot, followed by Iowa State University.
"Our teaching is student-centered, and many of our engineering courses are project-based," said K.C. Ting, department head since 2004.
"There are excellent opportunities for international study abroad, and we bring exchange students into our student body to provide those kinds of interactions," he said in a UI news release.
The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has been ranked in one of the top two spots for the last seven years, including a four-year stint as No. 1.
The department is part of two colleges — the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering.
"It helps significantly to be a part of two top colleges on our campus," Ting said.
Young fruit and vegetable growers sought
URBANA — Young people interested in becoming farmers — particularly fruit and vegetable farmers — can take part in a new yearlong series of classroom and in-field education programs offered by the University of Illinois.
The series, designed to encourage and train young farmers, is made possible by a grant from the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"We've got to get more people, new people, into farming, or we'll have a greater and greater consolidation of farmland into huge operations," said University of Illinois crop sciences Professor Rick Weinzierl.
The series will be offered at locations in northern, central and southern Illinois. UI Research and Education Centers at Urbana, Dixon Springs and St. Charles have acreage that can be used for incubation sites where participants can practice their farming plan and see if they can make it work.
Each course will be one year long and consist of monthly meetings beginning in December 2012. The courses will include both classroom training and outdoor hands-on demonstrations.
The training focuses on fruit and vegetable production because starting a new fruit and vegetable enterprise is a more realistic venture than starting with commodity crops.
Weinzierl said he expects nearly 300 people to go through the program.
For information about the program and to sign up to receive application information, visit http://www.newillinoisfarmers.org/.