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Late plant leads to late harvest for farmers

(WSIL) — Due to the wet weather this spring many farmers had to delay planting their crops. 

In the most recent crop progress report for Illinois, the USDA showed only 2 percent of corn was mature at the start of the month — compared to 32 percent at the same time last year. 

And the corn condition was also off with only 6 percent in excellent condition compared to 30 percent last year. 

"I think I’m the first one in this area to start harvesting corn, here in southern Illinois anyway," said Pulaski County farmer Forrest Nixon.

But as local farmer and Farm Bureau President Ken Taake explains, harvest came sooner for Nixon than most. 

"It’s been a real struggle. We’ve planted crops as late as we’ve ever planted," Taake said.

Nixon was able to get his corn in the ground before the wet weather that set back the planting of many fields this spring. 

"This stuff we’re in right now was planted April 10th, which was pretty well about on time. We only got about one hundred and eight acres, and the rain set back in, and it just stayed wet from there," Nixon said.

Farmers say the late plant this spring translates to a late harvest and that can impact profits. 

"The later you plant, the less your yield is going to be. The expense to put in that crop is much the same whether you plant it the first of May or you plant it the first of July. The only difference is your yields, if you plant it the first of July, are going to be much less, so your income is going to be much less," Taake said. 

"Yeah, it’s definitely pushed it back, I would say down here, about a month. We’re about a month behind back here on corn," Nixon said.

Taake says his family’s support helps with the stress and uncertainty. 

"Plus, I’ve been doing it for a lot of years, and you see the up and downs, and you’re kind of used to it. I don’t say you ever like it, but you realize it’s part of the job, part of what you do," Taake said.

Taake has hope for next year, adding that you’re always an optimist if you’re a farmer. 

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News 3 Staff

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