We are treading water in Coles County after an abrupt 8-inch rain during the beginning of the week with 6 inches of it coming within a couple hours on Sunday (June 10). Our once-perfect stand of near-canopy soybeans now exhibits water damage in more places than we would like. Corn plants, thanks to their height, are treading water in most low spots, but have most likely taken on some damage. Lucky plants above the water line are still growing very quickly. Some corn has been noted to be growing 6 inches a day. One minute you’re worrying about how dry its getting, the next you are treading water to get to the mailbox. When your livelihood relies on the weather, you just have to expect the unexpected.
We finally got some sizable precipitation June 1. Even though it wasn’t even in the forecast, a hard-charging inch went into the gauge within a couple hours, joining the half-inch we ended up with the night before. Corn and bean fields jumped into rapid growth mode with that encouragement from above. The majority of cornfields have passed knee-high and are working toward the belt line. Soybean fields have moved into the V2 to V3 stages, which mean sprayers are all over making their post-emerge pass. The forecast has more great growing temperatures in it with some chances for rain. Right now we are looking at some very beautiful crops, but we are still in the early stages. So, hopefully, the weather continues its cooperation.
Crops are growing and hay is getting put up. Tropical Storm Alberto was supposed to send us some much-needed moisture, but seemed to dance around us with some areas of Coles County getting a few tenths and others getting a trace. We were getting some more widespread showers Thursday as I wrote this. Hopefully, more bugs in the gauge drown. As we enter the V5 stage, cornfields are looking really good in spite of the hand-to-mouth moisture situation. Soybean stands are looking good with the whole crop emerged and the earliest beans pushing toward the V1 stage.
Fieldwork continues in between the rows all over Coles County. A few tenths during the weekend gave a very brief pause to spray and sidedress applicators making their rounds. Hay mowers also came out of the sheds, mowing down a lush green first cutting. We could stand to get some precipitation, especially in northern Coles where the big rain a week ago missed us. I see a lot of good looking V3 corn plants in near perfect stands. Another week without some rain and we will be looking pretty dry.