JA crop progress1

Corn pops out of its husk Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, along Cardinal Road in rural Champaign.

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Q: How far along is this year’s crop?

A: Not too far.

Because of the rain this spring, farmers planted late, and just 8 percent of corn is mature in Illinois, compared with 53 percent at this time last year, according to the latest crop progress report.

And of that corn, 62 percent is in fair, poor or very poor condition, compared with just 23 percent last year.

“This time of year, we would normally be approaching harvest here really quickly. Harvest would be just around the corner and maybe upon us for some and a week off for others,” said Brad Uken, manager of the Champaign County Farm Bureau.

But the corn is still too wet, Uken said. He spoke with someone at a local elevator last week who pulled off some ears of corn and tested their moisture.

“32 percent was the driest they had,” Uken said.

Farmers would typically want their corn to dry in the fields to about 18 to 22 percent before harvesting, Uken said.

“In reality, that’s probably 10 days to two weeks yet before we get down to where guys want to be,” he said. “So then there will be harvest on that early harvest stuff, and then there’ll be a break for everything else that was planted in late May, early June. So I think harvest is going to be stretched out, and it’s hard to tell when it’s going to end.”

As for Illinois soybeans, just 3 percent are “turning color,” when soybeans start to lose their green color and approach maturity.

This time last year, 71 percent of soybeans had turned color and 79 percent were in good or excellent condition.

This year, just 41 percent of soybeans are in good or excellent condition.

And while this spring was too wet, now the summer has been too dry.

Most of Champaign and Vermilion counties are abnormally dry or in moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Last month, Champaign-Urbana received 2.19 inches of rain, or 1.74 inches below normal, according to the Illinois State Water Survey. June and July also both saw more than an inch of rain below normal.

“If we thought spring was interesting, fall is going to be just as interesting of when it gets started, how it goes, etc.,” Uken said.