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Planting season could be more normal this year.

Byline: John Broux Staff Writer

State Climatologist Trent Ford says that farmers should see delays in the planting season as they did last year.

"We came into winter dryer than last year. At the end of 2018, we had very wet conditions, which set back the 2019 season. We didn't have that this year," Ford said. "Snow in the upper Midwest was not as great this year, and that makes a tremendous amount of difference. Once that melts, it adds to our ground water. Minnesota has no snow pack at all."

Ford went on to say that during the past couple of weeks, the area has experienced dry and warm weather, which has helped the soil to dry out, although he cautions that forecasts call for wetter than normal conditions, and there is still a potential for standing water.

In Southern Illinois, Ford says, the ground is much wetter than in Central, which could be an issue for areas of the state south of I-70. But still, as of now, Ford says that things are looking better than last year.

Forecasts through up to three months are showing warmer and wetter conditions, he said.

"Precipitation odds are elevated, but not strongly. Right now, it is still very wet. We will likely see conditions of excess water, but it is unlikely we will see the rain like we had last year," Ford predicted. "we probably won't see any delays as late as last year."

"One three- to four-inch rainfall could change all of that," Ford cautioned.

In Central Illinois, Ford said that due to the warmer temperatures, some have already been in the field getting some work done. He says that although it remains wet, the water tables remains far enough below the surface at this time to get some work completed, depending on the topography.

"Last year, we were near normal on crop yields, through better technology and hybridization. September was dry and warm and pushed crops through to maturity," Ford said. "The greatest toll from 2019 was on farmers' mental health."

This year could be different and folks are "trigger-happy" to get into the fields according to Ford.

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Author:John Broux Staff Writer
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 18, 2020
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