April is here and if Mother Nature will give Crawford County and Illinois a break from the rain, farmers are ready to start another planting season.
In some areas, field work in preparation for planting was already underway before recent soggy weather hit.
State corn growers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, were planning to plant 11 million acres for grain this year, down 2 percent from 2017.
Soybean planted area is expected to total 10.6 million acres, unchanged from last year.
Winter wheat area seeded last fall is estimated at 560,000 acres, up 12 percent from the previous year.
Producers intend to harvest 470,000 acres of all hay in 2018, down 4 percent from last year.
Statewide, the average temperature during the first half of March was 37.5 degrees, 2.2 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 2.36 inches for the same period, .01 inches below normal.
That changed during the second half of the month, however. While only .04 inch of rain was reported in Crawford County during the first 15 days of March, more than 3 inches fell in the second 15. Snow flurries and sleet were occasionally mixed in.
Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 2 percent very short, 5 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus during the first part of March. Subsoil moisture 2 percent very short, 17 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.
Corn stocks in all positions March 1 totaled 1.64 billion bushels, up 18 percent from last year but down 469 million bushels since Dec. 1.
On-farm stocks totaled 780 million bushels, while off-farm stocks totaled 864 million bushels.
Bean stocks in all positions totaled 375 million bushels, up 35 percent from 2017 but 135 million bushels less than on Dec. 1. On-farm stocks totaled 140 million bushels, while off-farm stocks totaled 235 million bushels.
All wheat stocks totaled 39.4 million bushels, up 8 percent from 2017 but down from 7.57 million bushels four months earlier. On-farm stocks totaled 1.40 million bushels, while off-farm stocks totaled 38 million bushels.
The condition of winter wheat in the fields was rated as 5 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.