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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.


Harvesting of corn and soybeans continued last week. We started harvesting Monday and stayed in corn all week trying to remove the areas that died prematurely. Thursday, most local farmers were harvesting corn as it was below 15 percent. This morning (Friday), it rained .1 of an inch, which will help keep farmers in corn in the short term. Our Group 3.4 soybeans are ready now. We are curious to see their production after being planted into strip-till with fertilizer. Corn yields vary quite a bit due to areas that prematurely died during the hot, dry weather. Local closing prices for Sept. 20 were $3.05, nearby corn; $3.25, January corn; $7.84, nearby soybeans; $8.08, January soybeans.


Harvest continued last week with little new to report. I think most every farmer in the area has started in some capacity. Yields I have heard have mostly been above average with both corn and soybeans coming in with some pretty good numbers. Crop prices being what they are, we will need every bushel, though. Everyone have a safe week and be careful out there.


With inches of rain and thousands of acres of crops underwater, some farmers are adding up damages and others are thanking the good Lord they were spared. Personally, I’m down a couple hundred acres of soybeans, but feel blessed it wasn’t more. I have heard of some farmers who have lost significantly more. It’s always tough to lose acres this late, especially when it looked like some really excellent crops. Harvest is starting to fire up again after the heavy rain, and not a minute too soon. Be safe and good luck.


Harvest has finally begun. I have heard differing yield reports. Corn and soybeans seem to be slightly above average. It’s really too early to tell at this point. Our crops still look very promising, but with the forecast of the tropical storm coming, it has a lot of farmers on edge. Please pray for all the farmers that have ground in low lying areas. I would sure hate to lose acres for such a promising crop this late in the game. Wish us luck, God bless and be safe.