No Rain Could Kill Stateline Crops

By: Faran Fronczak
By: Faran Fronczak

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Stateline farmers hoped last weekend's showers would save their crops, but it turns out it didn't their crops as much as they thought. Now with a hot and dry forecast in the future, farmers worry their crops will slowly die off.

"How worried are you?"... "Umm... considerably," says Richard Little. He has 130 acres of corn across Ogle County. In this particular field, he sees a problem. "A little along the edges, it's starting to wilt badly. Starting to look like pineapples," he says.

Some stalks are barely growing. On average, Little says he brings in 170 bushels an acre, and if his corn doesn't get rain within the next week, he's in trouble. "Pollination time is the most critical. That's when we need lots of moisture," he says. "The corn is really putting its all together to put out the ears to develop the kernels, so we need a lot of rain."

Right now the price of corn is in what's called a weather market, meaning the less rain there is, the higher the price corn will go. Judging from these stalks versus the rest of the field, these stalks probably won't make it the rest of the season.

"I think that the yield is going to deteriorate, and I've been thinking probably 3-percent a day for the next 10 days. So another words, if we don't get any rain... our yield will be down 30-percent. And I'm afraid if it doesn't rain for another 10 days... it will go down 20-percent. So we need rain badly," Little says.

The price of corn is at a yearly high of $6.93 cents per bushel, a price the Local Farm Bureau hasn't seen that high in nearly 10 years.

Richard Little says if it doesn't rain within the next week, crops will be damaged considerably. Illinois is the second largest corn producer in the nation.

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