Corn crop: one year later

By Audrey Wise

July 12, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM CDT

METAMORA, Ill. -- Farming is a way of life in Central Illinois. Last year farmers were put to the test and this year hasn't been so great either.

Exactly one year ago John Obery told us he had several fields that were a total loss.

He farms over 3,000 acres in rural Metamora. Usually averaging over 200 bushels per acre, the drought left him with less than 98 bushels per acre.

This year mother nature has created a different problem.

"We've got the complete opposite, about 3 or 4 rain events that totaled 3 to 5 inches and did a lot of destruction," said Obery.

Last year, due to the extreme heat and drought, many of the corn plants did not push an ear shoot or silk. Obery said right now we are in that critical time period again, and we aren't out of the woods. He said he needs another inch of rain in the next week to 10 days.

"The thing I'm worried about now is the heat," said Obery. "90-95 degree heat will make the corn go backwards in a hurry."

Peoria County Farm Bureau Manager Patrick Kerchhoffer said last year Peoria County yields fared better than most of the rest of the state. He is hoping for the same this year, but some areas have gotten too much rain.

"We've had, I think, two episodes where we've had 4-5 inch deluges of rain and of course that wrecked havoc on some low lands, some flood plain areas," said Kerchhoffer.

Right now the USDA is estimating corn conditions at 68 percent in good to excellent condition with only 8 percent in poor to very poor condition but as farmers know, only time will tell.

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