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Hill and Furrow

April weather and planting progress

Weather. As of early morning April 27, the Northwestern IL Ag R&D Center in Monmouth had gotten 4.22 inches of rain, 3/10 more than the 30-year 'normal'. If the forecast over the next couple of days is accurate, by the end of the day on the 30th, we will likely have 3 inches more rain in April than the 30-year average.

Temperatures on average had been a little bit above normal with high and low temperatures 1 and 3 degrees above normal, respectively.

The near-term forecast however is for both unseasonably wet cool weather conditions to move into the area over the next week. Climatologists with the National Weather Service and the USDA recently held a briefing on the forecast, materials from which can be found here.

Planting progress. According to the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service for the week ending April 23, in the western Illinois Crop reporting district (which includes the research center), 39% of the corn has been planted, 4% has emerged and 2% of the soybeans have been planted. This is slower than last year's progress – when 70% of the corn had been planted with 15% emerged and 4% of the soybeans had been planted by this time.

Dr. Emerson Nafziger reminded us in a recent Bulletin article about his work over the past 10 years looking at how planting date affects yield. He found that corn and soybean had near-maximum yields when planted in the mid-April to early-May time period with yields dropping to 95% of maximum when planting was delayed to May 10, 91% of maximum when delayed to May 20 and 86% of maximum when delayed till. May 30.


Weather data: Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program. Illinois Climate Network. (2014). Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820-7495. Web address: