Corn fields near Royal, Illinois. Author: Daniel Schwen. Licensing: GFDL. Original cropped.

In August, my office phone lights up with calls from farmland owners wanting to know about the direction of cash rent values for farms here in east-central Illinois. This is never easy to answer because no one can accurately forecast the future. Currently, we are looking for average to above yields for the area’s corn and soybean crops. The price outlook for this fall's corn and soybean crops is better than was anticipated earlier in the year due to weather problems in other parts of the world as well as the United States.

How cold is too cold for my crop?

A recent article by Mike Stanton, soybean Extension educator at Michigan State University, does a nice job of discussing the possible effects of sub-freezing temperatures on early-planted soybeans. If the soybeans have not emerged, there will be not be damage from these low temperatures since the growing point is still below ground.

Pile of stored grain corn

Stored grain should be kept at or near 35°F according to the experts. But over the past month in Central Illinois, the average daily temperature has varied 44°F – from a high daily average of 52° F to a low of 8°F.

Moisture in a filled grain bin moves from the warmed grain near the outside wall to the cooler grain in the center.