Cropwatchers
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Livingston County

Mark Kerber

Mark Kerber and his son raise corn and soybeans near Chatsworth in southeastern Livingston County. Mark is one of our longest serving Cropwatchers.

6/16/2017

Conditions have gotten very dry as temperatures rose and dry wind blew for days since planting soybeans. Relief came to many as thunderstorms put rain in the gauges from .2 of an inch to more than 3 inches, depending on where your farm is. Locally, we received .7 of an inch to 1.5 inches of rain. Corn was under much stress, especially after planting -- a little wet and having sidewall compaction turn into concrete, creating rootless corn. Many plants have fallen over, but after the rain, new roots are developing already. Corn is very uneven with all the replanting. Soybeans, on the other hand, look good, as they are more of a dry weather crop. Markets have turned to weather for direction. An overall national yield drop would lower carryout to scary levels. Time will tell.

6/9/2017

Planting, replanting, and replanting the replanting is finally complete. Now, we are busy post-spraying corn and sidedressing nitrogen. Hay is getting cut and baled with no rain. Speaking of no rain, how typical is our Illinois weather that goes from too wet to too dry? Last planting of soybeans is a concern for some as many are lying in dry dirt waiting for a shower. I have seen some corn blowing over from our windy days as secondary roots cannot grow and penetrate the dry, hard soil. A rain would be a cure for many problems. Markets have responded some to the hot and dry forecast. (Editor’s note: Due to technical issues, Kerber’s June 5 report did not appear last week.)

6/2/2017

No report this week.

5/26/2017

More rain and cloudy weather last week. We had one day to finish replanting corn. There is still corn to be replanted in a few locations. We figured we had 13 days in the field since April 13. As one drives around, you can still see stalk fields that haven’t been burned down yet for no-till. They are getting pretty weedy, especially with butterweed. We have one field of cover crop ryegrass that is getting pretty tall to plant into. Experts tell us that this is the correct way to plant and build humus. My neighbor thinks we should harvest the rye and double-crop the beans. When looking at rainfall charts, McLean County is the driest area in the state of Illinois. Markets haven’t reacted to planting problems across the Corn Belt.