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View from the Cab: Updates still coming

By: Kent Casson

Even though the fields are frozen, we often receive crop updates from USDA-NASS throughout the winter.

The Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions report was released just the other day for January. We learned winter wheat condition was three percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 43 percent fair, 33 percent good and nine percent excellent.

Statewide, the average temperature so far for January was 22.1 degrees, which is 2.4 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 1.12 inches, 0.34 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture was rated two percent very short, 17 percent short, 70 percent adequate and eight percent surplus.

USDA also recently released the annual Illinois weather summary for 2021. January through September appeared to be drier than normal in the state with fewer inches of precipitation falling. That all changed in October when we were about three inches higher than normal on rainfall. Things dried off again in November and December.

Temperatures were pretty much average compared to the previous two years, although December 2021 was about eight degrees warmer than usual. The central district of Illinois received 42.66 inches of precipitation in 2021 compared to 37.22 in 2020 and 38.35 on average.

The average temperature was 51.9 degrees. This compares to 53.2 in 2021 and 52.7 in 2020. Weather data was provided by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. More information can be found at

By the way, I want to congratulate all of the recent winners during the annual meeting of the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District in Pontiac. The Stan Blunier Family of Forrest received the Conservation Farm Family Award. They farm around 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans and operate a 13,000 wean-to-finish hog operation. They try to no-till and strip-till as much as possible and have recently begun using cover crops.

Four Partner in Conservation Awards were presented. Recipients included Sara Hostetter of Fairbury, Josh Donze from Pontiac, Gary and Craig Swartz of Swartz Farms at Saunemin and American Farmland Trust, which is a national organization founded in 1980 to save America’s farms and ranches. AFT has worked closely with the SWCD on the Vermilion Headwaters Watershed Project.


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