Cropwatchers
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Jackson County

Eric Shields

Eric Shields is a second generation CropWatcher who raises corn soybeans and wheat in Jackson and surrounding counties. He is also a farmer-dealer for Asgrow and DeKalb seed, and a part-owner of Shawnee Valley Aviation, a crop dusting service in Southern Illinois. Eric has been farming on his own since 1999. He earned his bachelor’s degree in management, with a minor in agribusiness economics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

9/22/2017

With very spotty rain last week, Jackson County is getting ever drier. However, the dryness makes for a great harvest season. We could still use some rain on some of the latest soybeans. Most, if not all, of the earlier soybeans are turning various shades of yellow, and some have been harvested. Corn harvest is a different story. Some farmers in the area have completed corn harvest, while others haven't even started. Personally, I have finished corn and just got into my early soybeans. Yields so far have been pretty disappointing with my early stuff, but I believe there will be better crops ahead. Only time will tell. Be safe, and God bless!

9/15/2017

Farming in southern Illinois can sure be interesting. Three weeks ago, I would have told you that we had a chance at an exceptional soybean crop. Now, I'm not so sure. With almost no rain for weeks now, everything has gotten really, really dry. Soybeans are starting to abort pods and even die prematurely. I have heard some pretty good yields from some early varieties, but most fields in the area are planted to a longer season number. Corn, so far, has seemed to be okay. Yields are average to above on the early planted fields with harvest progressing really smoothly so far. With all the long hours being put in right now, be careful out there.

9/8/2017

Harvest is here. Corn is being shelled around the area, and there are several fields of soybeans that look really close to being cut. Yields so far have seemed to pick up a bit from what I was hearing previously. That's not to discount the fact we could really use a rain to finish off the late beans. It's pretty dry around here now. On a different note, please take time to say a prayer for all the people in Houston and south Florida right now. Many lives will be affected through all this, and it's been scary for all of us with family involved with it. Good luck, and have a safe and bountiful harvest.

9/1/2017

It feels like fall. Corn harvest is slowly starting to ramp up here with most farmers looking to see what this year will bring. The few yields that I have heard seem to be average at best so far, but I think there is better corn out there. Soybeans, however, are just starting to turn a hint of yellow in some spots and seem to look really good around the area. Jackson County, for the most part, has had decent rain this year, so it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out. With the long hours of work coming and the stress-filled days, everyone be careful out there.