Again, Illinois farmers are waiting for rain. The weekly crop progress report from the USDA reflects the facts that soil moisture is diminishing, and rainfall is short. “The average rainfall across Illinois was about one-quarter of an inch,” says Mark Schleusener, the state statistician for the USDA in Illinois, “and that is more than one-third of an inch below normal for the week.”
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Progress of the major crops, too, is no great shakes. Corn is only 6 percent mature, and only 3 percent of soybeans are reported as dropping leaves. At this point last year, those figures, respectively, were 73 percent and 19 percent.