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Coronavirus pandemic brings new challenges for farmers this planting season

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PEORIA (HOI)- The fluctuation in air temperatures, and lower than normal soil temperatures, is causing seeds not to sprout. Not only does it put farmers behind, but also helps protect the crops from frost damage on unusually cold nights.

Right now, corn and soybean prices are at their lowest point in a decade due to the pandemic.

Grain farmers have been fortunate not to be directly impacted by the virus, but the lower than normal temperatures have impacted them.

"As soon as the soybean seedlings emerge, they are susceptible to frost. It's still yet to be determined if the soybeans were effected by frost. If they did get hit hard by a frost, farmers are going to have to replant the soybean," said Peoria County Farm Bureau Manager, Patrick Kirchhofer.

Grain farmers have been indirectly impacted though, as livestock farmers are largely on pause. Meat processing plants have shut down after having employees test positive for the virus.

"Grain farmers supply food for hogs, cattle, and chicken. If our numbers on the livestock side go down, as a result of this, they're not going to need as much soybean and corn, so that is going to hurt the grain farmers too," said Kirchhofer.

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