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.

6/16/2017

Last week, the temperature was in the lower to mid-90s, and the crop is really starting to show signs of stress. Most crops throughout the county still look pretty decent, but we could really use a good rain. Wheat cutting is almost wrapped up with final yields being above what everyone expected. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, farmers in the river bottoms will finally be able to start planting some of the lower ground that is still underwater. The river forecast is in our favor, the locks are open, and the weather looks good. Only time will tell. Good luck to all out there, and be safe.

6/9/2017

Beautiful - that’s about all I can say about the last week. Weather has been perfect. Corn is growing fast, and soybeans are getting taller by the day. Lots of post-spraying going on, and even a little wheat is starting to be cut. Yields, from what I have seen, have been really good. With all the rain we have had, I wouldn't have expected that. Far western Jackson County is still underwater, but the river forecast is starting to look in our favor. Hopefully, we can start getting some of that ground planted that has been underwater for weeks now. After all the headaches this year has brought us, the good Lord seems to always find a way to brighten our day. This last week has been a testament to that. Good luck out there and be safe.

6/2/2017

Lots of planting has been going on, and some in the area have even finished planting. We finished planting everything that isn't feet deep in water and even had time to do some replanting of flooded acres. Corn and soybeans have really started to grow. Most are looking really good at this point. With the nice weather, the weeds have really turned on, too. To combat this, we switched to all Xtend soybeans and are extremely pleased to this point. Everything that has been post-sprayed with XtendiMax herbicide has died quickly and looks good. By following a few guidelines for this product, we have seen little to no drift of any kind. Wheat is turning fast and will probably be cut next week. Everyone enjoy the nice weather, and be safe finishing up.

5/26/2017

Too wet. Too dry. Too wet. I really wish Mother Nature would make up her mind. We have gone from having a 14-inch rain event to having some farmers stop planting because of dryness. Then, on a portion of my farm, we received another 6-inch rain event last week. Sometimes, farming just makes you want to pull your hair out. As for the crops in Jackson County, most look really good. Corn is starting to pick up nitrogen and get some height on it. Beans are growing well and getting taller by the day. That is, if there isn't water over the top of them. Far west Jackson County is still really wet. More than half of the river bottom land is still underwater and getting deeper. Down there, you simply can't get to the field because almost all roads are covered with water. Wheat, however, is turning quickly and looks to be cut in the next couple weeks. Let's hope for some good yields there. With the price, we could use it. Good luck to all, and be safe.