Illinois drought: McHenry County farmers say dry spring won't harm crops - yet

Thursday, May 20, 2021
Illinois farmers say dry conditions won't harm crops - yet
Farmers in McHenry County say there are actually some benefits for both crops and livestock with the dry conditions.

MCHENRY COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Farmers across Illinois are planting fields and dealing with drought-like conditions compared to recent years.

Alan Ainger's family has been farming land in McHenry County for 75 years. This spring has been one of the driest they have ever seen.

"Some of the crops were planted into adequate moisture, but toward the end of planting season the seed was sitting in dry dirt and didn't germinate," Ainger said.

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Though we have seen a little rain in the past few days, it's far from enough to make a difference. As of mid-morning Wednesday, we have only recorded 5.60" of rain since the start of the year. That's a hefty 7.30" below normal. Still, the dry spring is much better than a very wet one.

Just two years ago, production out of Ainger's field was reduced by 50% due to flooding. But this year, the problem is not enough moisture.

But the farmers said there are actually some benefits for both crops and livestock with the dry conditions.

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"The soil has been worked up well for us," McHenry County farmer Henry Ziere said. "We've been able to get the crops planted in a timely fashion."

"I like the drier weather," Ainger added. "They just stay healthy and don't have the health problems associated with that."

The key to a bumper crop is to get enough moisture come this summer.

"They say it's similar to the drought of 2012," Ziere said. "Hopefully Mother Nature brings up some rain in a timely fashion."