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Wet Spring Woes Continue

The spring of 2019 has gone down in the record books as being one of the wettest in Illinois history. According a recent article by the Illinois State Climatologist's office, "As it stands now, spring 2019 will rank within the top four wettest spring seasons in state history (March–May), with May 2019 ranking as the third wettest May in state history."

All this wet weather has caused and will continue to cause issues with supplies and availability of local foods and grains. Preliminary estimates from the USDA's June 28 - Crop Acreage report show that the state of Illinois will plant about a half million fewer acres than normal. 2019 is estimated to have the lowest number of planted acres in the past 20 twenty years for the United States as a whole.

Here in central Illinois, all the wet spring weather has led to not only planting problems for local corn and soybean farmers, but also problems for fruit, livestock and vegetable farmers. As you may have noticed at local farmers' markets, up until very recently the supply of spring vegetables has been lacking. Local radishes and beets have been a rare sight at local markets.

Fruit producers have been struggling with high disease pressures from all the wet, cloudy days and trying to maintain the quality of this year's growing crop. This is leading to a  concern over the quality of the upcoming 2019 Illinois and Midwestern fruit crops. This may be reflected in higher prices and shorter supplies of cherries, peaches, berries and apples later this summer.

Ruminant livestock (cattle, dairy, goat and sheep) producers have been struggling with finding enough forages for their animals due to soggy pastures and delays in harvesting hay due to all the wet weather. This may lead to higher prices for dairy and meat products in the months to come.

The wet weather woes of this spring look to have lasting effects not only for the farmers who have had to contend with them, but also for the consumer in the months ahead.