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Local farms adapt to changing seasons

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News) - The seasons are changing and not just between Winter and Spring recently. Over the last couple of years, Central Illinois has seen increasingly warmer and drier Fall seasons and wetter Springs. These changes are forcing farmers to take a look at their planting and harvesting strategy and see how they can best use the new agricultural clock.

First, with the wetter Springs, much of the rain that we have seen is coming in heavy rain events rather than over a longer period of time. These heavy rain events are big problems for farmers, especially ones who experience significant soil erosion.

“That causes lower productivity of their fields when they lose that topsoil it takes a long long time to create the topsoil and we can a big rain can wash on the middle way almost immediately.” Said Dennis Bowman.

Dennis Bowman is the University of Illinois Extension and also a Digital Ag Specialist. He told us that the topsoil can be washed away with heavy rain and eventually end up in our streams and rivers, where it serves no one any purpose. Also, farmers develop these topsoils over many years with planting and tilling and the use of organic material. When the soil washes away, so does many years of work and patience along with the soil nutrients.

Reid Thompson, co-owner of Thompson Family Farms in Colfax, Illinois, tells us that the drier and warmer falls are not a negative thing for his crop.

“Warmer falls are really not a negative impact on our spring planting progress. The reason being is we’re able to get the crop out a little more timely. We can get fertility applications and fieldwork completed as well as any additional improvements that the farmer may need.” Said Thompson.

Thompson Family Farms grows primarily soybean and corn, the two most grown cash crops in Central Illinois. As for soil erosion, he told us that they do experience soil erosion but do their best to mitigate it with different tilling techniques.

“We as a farm have moved into a lot of kind of regenerative practices and or conservation tillage practices. So we are 100% No-Till on our soybean acres, and in fact, about a third of our soybean acres this year will actually have a growing private crop.”

Here’s to a good growing season in Central Illinois.

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