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Lee County

Larry Hummel

Larry Hummel of Dixon has been farming with his brother since 1975 in the corner of Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside counties. They raise corn, soybeans, and a little wheat.


I guess you could call this a big week when it comes to planting. The last two weeks in a row, we were able to find dry ground Monday, only to be rained out Monday night. This week, we were able to start Monday (May 15) again, but we were not rained out until Wednesday night. Although most of that time, we were running at half speed waiting for the ground to be ready. If you want to put a positive spin on it, this last rain made the decision easy on whether or not to run the rotary hoe over the corn we planted two weeks ago.


Another week went by with not much planting done. Finally, we had some ground that was fit to plant. I was getting the tractor ready only to find I had engine problems big enough that we rented a tractor. It’s surprising how long it takes to switch all the monitors over and calibrate them. Things were not nearly as bad for my brother. When he unfolded his planter, he had a flat tire on the wing. Needless to say, we didn’t get much in the ground before the rain that night. A total of just shy of 3 inches of rain has everything saturated. This week appears to have couple of small chances of rain, so maybe we will miss them.


Thursday was the first day that we had any significant sunshine. Soil temperatures at the 2-inch depth averaged close to 55 degrees on the high end for the week and about 45 degrees for the low. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to dry out as most tile lines are running at full capacity. We have been shipping out some corn, but what has surprised me is how many rainy-day projects I’ve got done, and there are still some left to do. I didn’t realize how long that list was, I guess.


Last week was fairly productive here in the northern counties. Some fieldwork in localized areas started Friday (April 21), and it seemed like everyone was going by Monday. We finished applying anhydrous and got a little more than 10 percent of our corn planted before Wednesday’s rain. I’m sure there are quite a few farmers that are well over 10 percent planted, but there are also a lot that decided to wait until after this cold, wet period passed. It was just last year when thousands of acres of corn and soybeans were replanted after a cold and rainy spell the week following Mother’s Day.