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Soybean Crop Drawing Concern for Farmers
Another hot day in Central Illinois has farmers concerned about their soybean crop. Is there hope for successful yields? We spoke with a Rochester farmer who says it has been a tough year for soybeans. Late planting was only the beginning. The worst case scenario for soybean farmers became reality...a growing season that began as wet and cold is finishing hot and dry. Like the majority of Central Illinois farmers, John Poffenberger of Rochester didn't plant his soybeans until June and now he says they're running about two weeks behind. "We were okay up until the last month and a half because it's been awfully dry. August was dry...so far September is dry. Hopefully we still got some potential out here, but the rain needs to come really quick, said Poffenberger"
Experts say soybeans grow best in hot, humid conditions. This year the heat came late, and a lack of moisture is affecting the way the beans are developing. "The rain is the most important key for us because it takes water to fill that grain," said Jerry Harbour, Certified Crops Specialist.
Even worse, the dry weather is bringing on some unwanted pests. "I got some aphids out there. We probably got some spider mites out there, said Poffenberger" White mold has been reported in some soybean fields, and rare diseases. "One in particular we haven't seen since 1988 would have been Stem Canker. You see a little bit of that occasionally," said Harbour.
Even with all the challenges, farmers are remaining optimistic. "Hopefully we'll just get a rain," said Poffenberger."
Experts say soybean yields are expected to be average to slightly below average. Unless yields are drastically low, grocery store prices should not be affected.
Crop experts say soybeans that were planted early could potentially start being harvested within the next two weeks, but most soybean harvesting won't start until the beginning of October.