Looking back: Early challenges in 2020


A farmer works ground south of Fairbury last spring / CIFN photo.

Mark Hines, who farms near Downs and Hudson in McLean County, was finishing up seed orders and getting his planter tuned-up for fieldwork when we interviewed him back in late March.


“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.


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.”


David Schuler, who farms with his dad and brother around Chenoa and Lexington, normally holds a live pig sale each spring, but COVID-19 forced the game plan to change as the annual event was moved online. Four other area breeders help Schuler with the sale.


“We quickly got some pictures done and made videos.”


The year’s crop rotation was a popular topic on the Schuler farm due to uncertain times and everything happening in the world.


“Lower oil prices are creating less demand for corn in the ethanol market, but we are seeing some good export numbers picking up on the corn side,” Schuler said.

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