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Illinois Farmers Concerned Weather Could Delay Planting

By Nyttend [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Illinois farmers are getting nervous that the long, cold and wet spring will delay the planting season.

The target planting date is typically around April 21, The Pantagraph reported.

"Most of the guys are ready to go," said Thomas Wargel, an accredited farm manager and the owner of Black Prairie Ag Services Inc. in Clinton. "The standard conversations I am having with farmers indicate that they are eager and anxious to get in the fields."

The cold and wet weather means farmers will face low soil temperatures and saturated fields. Farmers don't want to start planting if soil temperatures can't promote growth, he said.

"Nobody wants to put a $400 bag of seed corn into the ground if the soil temperatures aren't warm enough to sustain growth," Wargel said. "Corn, in particular, does not do well because it can't get oxygen. Farmers realize that they only want to plant once and do it right."

Central Illinois saw temperatures of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) Thursday, the first time since October that temperatures were warmer than 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).

But cooler weather will return and parts of Illinois may see rain and snow over the weekend, said Eric Laufenberg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"That will bring another two or three days before we can even think about getting any work done," said Terry Ferguson, who farms in rural Clinton.

Gene Malone, who farms near Maroa, is also ready for the planting season to begin.

"I'm not nervous, but a farmer always wants to get the planting done before something goes wrong," he said. "We've got time. I'm not in a rush. But, I do want to get started."

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