Spring, summer rain delaying fall harvest; farmers at risk as winter looms

DEKALB COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Historic rains in spring and summer left many Illinois farmers scrambling to harvest corn and soybeans after they waited for their fields to dry.

Farmers are now facing another battle, cold temperatures that could kill those crops before they're ready to harvest.

The extremely wet weather started in the spring and made it nearly impossible for farmers to get into their fields.

Mark Tuttle has been farming for decades, he said this has been one of the worst years his southern DeKalb County farm has seen.

"Because we were late planting in June, we already started out underneath the gun," Tuttle said. "We had persistent rains all summer, about every time we got done getting in the field, we'd get another rain on us."

Since the start of the year, the Chicago area has seen 42.74" of rain, which is 13" above normal.

Heavy rains earlier this month have turned some farm fields into a quagmire. The sub-freezing temperatures the Chicago-area saw last weekend made things even worse.

"This year the frost we got is going to kill the plants off early, its going to change the whole drying to the corn plant," Tuttle said.

Though there still will be crops to harvest, the yields will be significantly lower than last year.

"Last year we had 250 to 270, and now this year will be lucky to make 200, and that's dry bushels," said Roy Plote with the DeKalb County Farm Bureau

The soybeans on Tuttle's farm should be about twice as high as they actually are during this time of the year. There are still plenty of green leaves left on the corn, which will have to be dried, which will add to the already high costs to the farmers.

"The real kicker is we're gonna spend $30 to $40 an acre to dry it, and that's a lot of money," Plote said.
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