Summer weather plays factor in expected crop yield

By Beau Ebenezer

July 24, 2013 Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM CDT

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. -- At this time last year, Trivoli farmer Dale Benson was in a panic.

The summer drought had diminished his corn and soybean crops like he had not seen in more than a decade.

This year is a different story. After steady rainfall this summer, farmers across Peoria County seem to be pretty happy.

"The corn crop really looks good," said Peoria County Farm Bureau Manager, Patrick Kirchhofer. "It has got a dark green color. It is starting to tassel now. It is in need of moisture, nitrogen and fertilizer. This is a critical stage for it."

Planting was delayed a few weeks this year due to heavy rain in April but Benson said it has been smooth sailing ever since.

They are, however, hoping for a little more rain following last week's heat wave.

"Last week was really hot and dry," said Benson. "We did not get a lot of rain over the weekend. We are dry still and we are shedding pollen. This is a critical time for the corn. We would say that we need a drink for the corn and soy beans as well."

While farmers have high hopes for their corn crop, there is still some doubt in the soybean crop.

The delay in planting the soybean crops could still cause problems for farmers.

Farm Bureau officials are hoping for warm and dry weather this fall to avoid the possibility of frost getting to the crops.

Benson is concerned for the 20 percent of his soybean crop that was planted late and will not be harvested until late-September. That is when a frost could substantially reduce his yield.

Much of the corn in Peoria County will also not be harvested until late September and into early October.

Officials said if the weather cooperates, farmers will see a larger yield. That could save consumers an extra penny at the grocery store.