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After early start, Southeast farmer waits out weather

After early start, Southeast farmer waits out weather

David Webb adds graphite and talc to his soybean seeds

David Webb adds graphite and talc to his soybean seeds prior to planting. The additives act as dry lubricants, and facilitate flow of the seeds. He began planting on his Wayne County farm on April 6, a bit earlier than usual. 

WAYNE CITY, Ill. — David Webb got his planter in the field earlier than usual this spring, but heavy rains sent his equipment to the shed not long after he started.

“We’re still rained out,” he said on May 7. “We haven’t planted since (late April).”

His Wayne County farm received 2.5 inches of rain between May 2 and May 5, and another 0.7 inches of rain on May 6.

According to the May 3 USDA weekly Crop Progress report for Illinois, topsoil moisture supply was rated 2% very short, 17% short, 69% adequate and 12% surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 1% very short, 15% short, 77% adequate and 7% surplus.

Webb got 1,400 acres of corn planted but only 200 acres of soybeans. He was waiting for his Southeast Illinois fields to dry out before planting the remaining 1,300 acres of beans.

But there is certainly no cause for panic. He started planting on April 6, which is earlier than usual.

“Usually, we don’t start planting beans until about now anyway,” Webb said. “That’s a little early for us. Usually, April 15 is when we’re ready to start planting corn. But all the conditions were right this year.”

All the corn has emerged and looks good, except some that was planted in low spots.

Webb said some fields got heavy precipitation following planting, and germination has been iffy.

“It looks really good,” he said. “I was a little worried about the cold weather, but it’s coming out all right. About 170 acres got planted before it started raining. It looks borderline; I may have to spot some in. It’s too early to tell.”

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Nat Williams is Southern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.

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Illinois Farmer Today checks in with farmers throughout the state for our annual update on soil conditions and planting progress.

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