Illinois corn harvest off the pace late into season

Corn production in Illinois is slightly behind pace this year, with 95 percent of the crop harvested statewide as of the middle of November, a couple percentage points below average.

Mark Schleusener, Illinois state statistician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistic Service, said the pace is even slower in Northwest and Northeast Illinois.

Schleusener said a late planting season contributed to the slow start and that a late start typically leads to a late finish for the crop.

“One, there was a late planting season in a fair amount of the Midwest and also in Illinois,” Schleusener said. “So, producers did not necessarily get their crop planted in the same timely manner as usual.”

Schleusener also said a summer that ranked among the coolest on record in the state has contributed to the lagging harvest.

“Another thing is we’ve had a cool summer,” Schleusener said. “I think August was the sixth coolest on record in Illinois. So, that slowed down the maturity pace.”

As the season has gone by, the corn stalks have started to lose strength. Schleusener said that could leave the corn susceptible to damage from storms.

“One thing that happens now is that if there were to be a strong wind storm, the corn could get blown over,” Schleusener said. “The stocks themselves are dead. They’ve lost strength.”

With rain continuing to fall throughout the state, the corn has a higher moisture content. Schleusener said farmers typically want a moisture content between 16 percent and 20 percent. Farmers may decide to dry the corn themselves, which Schleusener said carries an extra cost.

“They may need to dry it on their own farm using propane, so that’s an additional cost,” Schleusener said. “The producers will have to buy that propane and run their corn through the dryer.”

–Illinois News Network

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