How Bad was the Drought for IL Farmers in 2012?
It was fairly obvious that the drought hit farmers hard this year, but how hard?
For Illinois, both corn and soybean yield were below expectations for 2012. But Angie Peltier with the Monmouth office of University of Illinois Extension says soybeans fared much better than corn.
She says corn was nearly 40 percent below expected while soybeans yields were only down 10 percent. Peltier says corn needs rain at specific times to develop while soybeans are more flexible.
"If we got a later rain," Peltier said, "which a lot of people did, had a saving rain a little bit later in the growing season. Those flowers that were there and the small pods that had formed, were able to actually fill out and produce some beans."
Peltier also said some farmers in her area reported surprisingly good yields but farther South the fields seemed much worse, with some fields not developing any ears on the corn stalks.
Those expectations are based on looking at crop yields for the past 30 years.
Going forward Peltier says farmers may plant multiple corn varieties that grow, or mature, at different rates to help compensate for drought conditions. She said that would spread out those"specific times" that corn need rains. Which means some sections of a field may be hard hit by not getting rain at that key time, but it would not devastate the farmer's whole crop.