NORMAL – There has been plenty of activity taking place on Arin Rader’s farm lately.
The grower from Normal has been fixing field tile which has been an issue the past couple of years with wet conditions and old clay tile giving out. This can be attributed to more water and heavier machinery these days.
“I tried working a little bit of ground and it was still a little marginal but getting there,” Rader told The Central Illinois Farm Network last week.
Some farmers around Bloomington-Normal have been planting beans and doing other fieldwork.
Rader admits the news isn’t so great for farmers currently with weather concerns, low prices and everything else going on in the world. He is holding out hope for warmer soil temperatures and brighter days ahead.
“This year, we’ve already probably had better field conditions than most of last spring,” Rader said.
Last winter lacked deep freezes which is something Rader has been able to closely monitor since he serves as the road commissioner for his township. The area received more snow than last year but it was spread out and melted off fairly quickly.
“We really had a pretty mild winter temperature-wise as we didn’t have much frost in the ground at any one time,” Rader reflected. “I was hoping for a little deeper freeze than what we got but we get what we get.”
Rader’s township was able to lift spring road weight limits fairly early this year before much field activity began.
The Rader family also operates an agritainment business known as Rader Family Farm just north of Normal which is open each fall. This serves as an outlet for parents to expose their children to farm life and where their food comes from. The Raders will plant their pumpkin crop in May or June.
“Hopefully, we get a good (pumpkin) crop this year and that all depends on how the summer goes,” Rader added.
This venture has helped bring all of the Rader siblings back to the farm. Rader said it has been good to have the business in addition to the crop farming side of the operation.