Corn planting has yet to catch fire in Illinois. The crop is now 5 percent planted, up from 1 percent last week, according to the weekly USDA crop progress report. It was 1 percent last year at this time, so nobody is panicking yet. USDA crop statistician Doug Hartwig says some farmers are in the fields applying anhydrous ammonia, but the soil isn’t warm enough yet for planting.
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“You’ve gotta wait for it to warm up before (the seeds) will germinate, so with the way thing’s cost, you’re not too excited to put the seed out there if the soil temperatures aren’t getting closer to that 50-degree range, so I think some of that is timing, it’s just waiting for that soil to warm up so the crop will emerge once you get it in,” he said.
The average temperature in the state last week was 47.3, which is 6.7 degrees below normal, and such a temperature doesn’t help get the soil up to the 50-degree mark that’s conducive to corn germination. Topsoil moisture is 90 percent adequate or surplus, but there are drier areas in the western part of the state.