Farmers hit the fields for spring planting season

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:00 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Farmers are back in their fields and inside their tractors this week, getting ready for what they hope is another successful crop yield in Central Illinois.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Illinois corn production was up 3% in 2022, with an estimated 2.27 billion bushels harvested.

“We’ve got a good start. Last week was just ideal planting conditions,” said Peoria County Farm Bureau Manager Patrick Kirchhofer. “For a lot of fields, the soil was working out very well. So, we’re off to a good start.”

But last year, an unpredictable factor made growing crops more difficult.

Farmer Michael Shane said the war in Ukraine nearly tripled the cost of his corn fertilizers. He added that it cost him about $450 per ton in 2020.

“For my 2022 crop, it went to $750, and for my ‘23 crop, to which I’ve applied my nitrogen already, it was $1,200,” said Shane.

The farmer said the price of fertilizer has gone down a little bit in the last month, but it’s still high for him.

Even though Illinois is ranked second in the nation in corn production and first in soybean production, the Peoria County Farm Bureau said adapting your growth strategy is key.

“If they plan their year according to what happened the previous year, it’s probably going to be wrong,” said Kirchhofer. “It seems like it changes every year. So, you have to be adjustable. You got to adjust to the weather.”

Michael Shane also said farmers typically plant in the spring anytime from April 15 to May 15. He says he will wait a little longer before getting to his own fields.

The 25News First Alert Weather Team said the rainfall total in March 2023 is more than an inch higher than in March 2022 for Peoria County.