|2/15/2013 1:57:00 PM|
It's early, but crop weather already looks good
|By RANDY HARRISON|
Mild winter weather may help Crawford County's wheat crop.
For the most part, winter has been relatively tame. Temperatures have been "reasonable," according to Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist John Pearse, and some "nice, steady" rains have helped recharge some of the soil moisture lost during last summer's drought, without causing much ponding or erosion.
"It could be a good beginning for the year," Pearse said. "The wheat is coming along, but it really hasn't started growing, yet. Hopefully, it will do well."
It was in fair shape in the fall, when the county was still gripped by drought: "Wheat is more of a dry weather crop, anyway," he explained.
Statewide, the mild winter continued for the month of January. Temperatures averaged 26.8 degrees, 2.1 degrees above normal. Precipitation was below normal in the northern and central districts and above normal in the southern districts. Precipitation was .24 inch above normal with an average of 1.92 inches.
Topsoil moisture was rated at 10 percent very short, 32 percent short, 55 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated at 26 percent very short, 46 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.
The mild temperatures have left the winter wheat crop rated mostly good and have had little effect on livestock. Winter wheat conditions stand at 3 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.
Almost 92 percent of the winter wheat planted in Crawford County in 2011 was harvested for grain in 2012.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 7,000 acres of county farmland was planted in wheat for all purposes in fall 2011. Of that, 6,430 was harvested for grain. The average yield was 68.7 bushels per acre and total production was 103,000 bushels.
Wheat production was higher in neighboring counties. Clark County only planted 4,700 acres in wheat and harvested 4,510 for grain. Average yield was 61 bushels per acre and production totalled 275,000 bushels.
Jasper County farmers planted 6,000 acres and harvested 5,950. Average yield was 63.7 bushels per acre for a total production of 379,000 bushels.
In Lawrence County, 11,400 acres were planted and 11,300 were harvested. The average yield was only 51.8 bushels per acre, but total production was 585,000 bushels.
Statewide, an estimated 830,000 acres of winter wheat were seeded in the fall of 2012, 26 percent more than in 2011.
While seedings for the 2013 crop increased by 170,000 acres over the previous year, the increase is only 30,000 acres more than the 2011 crop.
The five-year average for wheat seeded in Illinois is 753,000 acres while the 10-year average is slightly lower at 710,000 acres.
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