La Salle County rainfall report: Crops are planted, farmers hope for rain

Fields of hay cut, baled

The planting season has begun in La Salle County as fields are being tilled, fertilized and planted. This farmer works in his field along North 25th Road in rural Ottawa.

The summer crop and rainfall report, which features crop condition and rainfall updates from La Salle County farmers, is published regularly during the growing season.

This is the first report of the summer.

The following report covers May 22-28 and is provided with assistance from the La Salle County Farm Bureau. None of the farmers reported any rainfall in the reporting week.

David Hall, Serena: Here we are for another year reporting on crop progress in La Salle County. Thank you to Shaw Media for publishing these, and I hope everyone enjoys reading them. I farm with my dad and brother on our 166-year-old family ground north of Ottawa. We raise corn, soybeans and a crop of children who want to farm when they grow up.

Many got off to a good start planting in April, but cold weather thereafter had limited plant vigor until mid-May. Locally, we received a gully washer that was only 4 to 5 miles wide prior to plant emergence. So back out with the planters to fill in drown outs and poor stands. We are sitting on a fair bit of subsoil moisture from that storm, but those just a few miles north and south could really use a rain now to keep things growing.

We received zero rain for the reporting week. Local activities included first cutting of hay, mowing ditches and finishing up planting (and replanting). Have a safe week!

Ken Beck, Mendota: It is looking pretty good up here considering all the rain we had previously.

Last week guys were wrapping up planting beans and some corn and replanting beans and corn in the ponded holes around the northwest part of Illinois. Everything is starting to look better. We could use a little rain to make everyone feel better.

David Myer, Marseilles: Welcome from Rutland Township area of La Salle County where my home base is located where we grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa hay. No rain to report and or maybe I forgot where my rain gauges are located. Planting is complete and the corn looks pretty good though I have some thin spots and no moisture to replant. Many acres of hay have or are getting cut and baled hoping the Armyworms stay away because they will totally defoliate a plant in a matter of hours. I’m sure lots of beans are laying in dry soil so praying for a good rain. Out on the farm we are still having supply chain issues for certain items. No rain but the Chicago grain traders feel we have a bumper crop almost in the bin, too bad they’ll get caught when the rain doesn’t materialize soon.

Bill Gray, Tonica/Lostant: Hi, our farm operation is located in the southwest part of La Salle County near Tonica. I raise corn and soybeans with help from my wife Tina and my sons. I’ve been a member of the Tonica Volunteer Fire Department for 34 years and an EMT for 28 years. Last week I received no rain. It’s been another interesting spring this year to say the least. It warmed up early and a few fields of corn were planted and then we had a cool down and saw a little snow. Temperatures towards the end of April were close to normal and moisture was good to get corn in the ground. The corn in my area is up and looks pretty good but could use some rain. Many fields of corn are having post-emerge herbicide applied and some have had side dress anhydrous ammonia applied. Soybeans were planted at different times this spring and the amount of growth varies from 5 inches tall to just now emerging. Some fields of hay are being cut and baled in the area. Those fields will need some rain before there will be another good crop to cut. I’ve finally had a chance to get some of my garden planted and it appears I will have to put a fence up around it as the rabbit population has exploded. I’ve noticed most of the does in my trail cam pictures no longer have their big bellies meaning that fawns are being born. Congratulations to all the recent graduates! Have a good week and be safe!

Ken Bernard, Grand Ridge: Welcome back for another year of crop watchers! Little bit about our operation, I farm with my son in the Grand Ridge area. We raise corn, soybeans, some hay for our small purebred Hereford cattle. Mainly my son does most of the cattle work and my daughter helps when she is home from Kansas. It has been a different year again, beginning of April was dry and warm letting field work to start along with some planting in the second week of April, then it cooled off. Still stayed dry through the first week of May. All of our corn and beans were planted by the May 6. Which I think is the earliest we have ever been done planting. Now it has been very dry since the middle of May. All the corn and beans have emerged, which is always a good feeling to see the fields green up with growing crops. We cut all of our hay and got it baled last week. I cannot ever remember getting all the hay up in one stretch of time with no chance of rain. Hay crop was a little better than last year and was done about three weeks earlier than last year. I should also be done side dressing nitrogen on the corn this week, which is a lot sooner than any other year. Corn is also being sprayed this week. That is pretty much it for the first report of the 2023 crop year.

Geoffrey Janssen, Rutland: Greetings from the southern part of La Salle County, my name is Geoffrey Janssen. I farm with my son, my wife and some seasonal employees. We are a grain operation raising corn and soybeans. This season the crops went in very early, no rain delays. Things are looking good at this time, but soils are getting very dry. We could use a rain at any time. No measurable rain to report for the last several weeks.