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Prepping for another season

Equipment was parked outside on this Livingston County farm on Saturday ready for fieldwork / CIFN photo.

DOWNS – Even though the tractors and planters haven’t ventured out to the fields just yet, there is still plenty going on in farm country.

Mark Hines, who farms near Downs and Hudson in McLean County, has been finishing up seed orders and getting his planter tuned-up for fieldwork. Whether or not Hines plants corn or soybeans first depends on the conditions.

“If it’s fit to plant corn, I’ll probably go ahead and plant corn first but if it’s a little marginal, I may go ahead and put some beans in the ground,” Hines told The Central Illinois Farm Network last week.

This all depends on what kind of weather comes at us in April. It will likely be wet at least for the first part of the month which means farmers will be out of the field for a while.

Like many others in agriculture, Hines experienced a tough year in 2019 which started off with an extremely late planting season.

“I got all of my corn in during May and the beans were all planted in June – definitely not ideal.”

Hines was pretty fortunate as yields turned out pretty good in his area. His corn was above the five-year average even though it was not as good as the past couple of years. Hines farms 1600 acres of corn and soybeans.

LaSalle County area update:

We visited late last week with Roy Plote who farms near the LaSalle County town of Leland in north central Illinois with his brother and son.

They raise 1,000 head of cattle a year and farm around 1700 acres with corn, soybeans and silage. Normally, Plote has wheat but didn’t get any planted this year.

“Last year, the wheat was horrible even though we had to keep some so we had a place to haul manure.”

Plote only baled about 350 round stalk bales last year so they have to do more of that this season in order to have more bedding.

“It’s been a tough year and 2020 is going to start a little bit not so happy either the way it looks,” Plote said.

In Plote’s neighborhood, they will likely be running around 3.5 to 4 inches over the 10-year average again for precipitation. Even with a week of dry weather, the ground will still be plenty wet.

“I think we are going to be looking all the way out to the middle of April to see if we ever get to go out in the field yet,” he added.

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