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View from the Cab: Crop Worries

Soybeans emerge in McLean County last week / CIFN photo.

Like a parent worries about their child, farmers often worry about their crops throughout the year.

This isn’t a bad thing. It means we care about the corn and soybeans we put in the ground to help feed the world. I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous when I first heard reports of pea-sized hailstones falling in Chenoa the other day. For a split second, I feared my newly planted cornfield was damaged. Was all of that work in April done for nothing? Luckily, this wasn’t the case but it has been known to happen to farmers from time to time.

I recall a hailstorm just a few years ago near my house which destroyed nearby soybean fields and some corn along the way. I felt bad for those farmers who experienced the devastation, which included a swath about a mile wide. Those neighbors were resilient and replanted soybeans that summer, even though it was late June or early July before they got back into the field.

We may be safe from late season freezes at this point, but many of us still have concerns in the back of our mind about an early frost in the late summer or early fall which could impact crops still trying to mature. Some may even be worried about too much or too little precipitation harming the crops this growing season, even though we all know there isn’t much we can do about the weather.

We don’t even want to start thinking about insect or disease pressure in 2018. To spray fungicide or not to spray? Does insecticide use pay off for soybeans? These are questions we will try to find the answers to with a little worrying along the way, I’m sure. I can’t say as if the growing crops are giving me gray hairs like raising kids, but it seems likely.

It is safe to say most of the corn and soybeans are now in the ground throughout Central Illinois in what was one of the fastest planting seasons in recent memory. We had a great stretch of weather to work in the field. As soon as the planters are put away, growers will be thinking about spraying and side-dress applications. Others have been busy cutting grass.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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