Metro-East News

Rainfall creates roadblock to successful spring planting for farmers

The area’s recent rainfall further complicated Southern Illinois farmers’ already difficult task of successfully planting and growing their crops.

St. Clair County Farm Bureau President Paul Beisiegel said for corn farmers, the 10-plus inches of rain that recently fell meant two main things: loss of yield and loss of opportunity.

“Every day we are losing yield,” Beisiegel said. “... We had to go back and re-do a lot of the stuff we’ve already done, which takes time and money.”

Beisiegel explained the rain chokes the oxygen out of the ground.

“Any plant needs moisture and air in the ground, and so when the ground is that full of (water) like it has been for the past couple of weeks, our seed that we put out there ... has spoiled and rotted in the ground,” he said.

Most of the corn plants need to sprout in about 36 hours after being planted, Beisiegel said. So, those farmers who planted their seeds will have to re-plant new seeds in order for their crops to grow.

We only get paid from the corn and beans that are actually produced on the land. So now we are going to take a loss because we’ve missed the opportune time to plant.

St. Clair County Farm Bureau President Paul Beisiegel

On the other hand, those farmers who had not planted by the time the rains fell may be out of luck.

“We only get paid from the corn and beans that are actually produced on the land,” Beisiegel said. “So now we are going to take a loss because we’ve missed the opportune time to plant.”

Corn plants, according to Beisiegel, should be about 6-8 inches tall in mid-May. If they’ve sprouted, he said, most plants are only about 2-3 inches tall right now.

The delayed planting, as well as the re-planting, of the corn means farmers may fall behind on their bean planting.

As for wheat crops, Beisiegel said, it rained when the wheat was in its flowering stage. The excess water can cause fungus to grow and destroy the crop.

“You could do everything right and if you get the wrong week with rain it messes up your crop and it’s just devastating on the producers,” he said.

He said weather is just something farmers have to deal with every year.

“All the farmers are not in a good mood,” Beisiegel said. “But you’ve got to move on, these are the cards mother nature dealt us. We can’t control the rain or weather. We have to deal with all the different aspects. You are trying to get the most amount of yield on the least amount of costs.”

He noted that some farmers have land still completely underwater.

“The next eight to 10 days look pretty clear, we will get a lot done,” he added. “It’s just the cards we were dealt with mother nature. We do our best with the information we are given to put out our crops and get maximum yield.”

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