PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Corn and soybean are of great importance to Central Illinois as a large part of the local economy is reliant on the farmers that grow the two crops. It is being reported to the Peoria County Farm Bureau that corn and soybean are maturing ahead of schedule this year. According to Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau, the main driving factor behind this is the weather.
"Soybeans are ahead of schedule this year and maturity, primarily due to the weather that we've had, and their early planting." Said Kirchhofer. Remember last month, there were many days with rain and very hot temperatures. The hot weather is manageable for the plants given that they receive an adequate amount of water. Also, farmers are planting their crops earlier in the year than traditionally.
"We can get the crop to mature earlier, it can be harvested earlier which takes out some of the risks as far as weather coming in later on the fall, colder weather shorter daylight hours." Said Kirchhofer, regarding the earlier planting of crops. It also allows farmers to consider a cover crop, which is a grass or grain that they can plant during the colder months that helps prevent soil erosion. They also have more time to get other projects done by harvesting earlier.
This is all around a great thing for farmers, many of which may have been worried about their harvest this year after some flooding, hail, and wind damage.
Kirchhofer tells us that at the current rate the crops are maturing, farmers should be able to harvest about a week earlier than normal, maybe the first week of September.
Most of the corn grown in this region eventually is made into feed for livestock. Some of the corn is made into ethanol. The corn and soybean crop are very important to Central Illinois and the Midwest in general.