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Farming duo not giving up hope

Aaron (left) and Steve Ricketts pose among their tractors north of Fairbury last week / CIFN photo.

FAIRBURY – Local farmers Steve and Aaron Ricketts may be stressed with the lateness of planting season, but they aren’t giving up.

“We are not going to give up on the ship,” admits Steve.

This spring has been anything but typical as growers wait for fields to dry out and take advantage of small windows of opportunity before more rain falls. This is a year when many have to pick and choose where to plant corn and soybeans.

“You have to find where you can go. We’ve planted around wet holes and about got stuck a couple of times planting beans,” Steve added.

Aaron is a young farmer who has never experienced this type of a delay. He wants to get as much done as possible, hoping things work out in the end.

“In just my short time of helping, this is a first for me. Hopefully we don’t ever have to go through it again,” said Aaron.

The Ricketts, who run two planters, are about 25 percent done with everything and have considered changing out seed corn if planting delays continue. When they are in the field, soybean planting seems to be going well on ground which was chiseled last fall.

“That’s working probably better than planting corn because it has dried out a little better. The problem of it is, when you hit those wet spots, it is really wet in that chiseled ground and you have to be careful,” Steve added.

Aaron was working in the shop last week performing equipment maintenance. There has also been plenty of mowing to keep the pair busy.

“Whatever we can do to keep our mind off of not being in the field – we are just trying to stay busy,” Aaron said.

Illinois farmers only had 24 percent of the state’s corn crop in the ground last week. That compares to 95 percent last year and the five-year average of 89 percent. Nine percent of soybeans were planted for the week ending May 19, compared to 79 percent last year and the five-year average of 51 percent.

The new weekly crop progress and weather report from USDA-NASS is due out Tuesday instead of Monday this week due to the Memorial Day holiday.

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