UPDATE: Chain requirements lifted on some North State highways
NEWS

Lots of corn still in fields as snow looms

Tim Landis

Despite the seventh-warmest November on record, more than a fourth of the Illinois corn crop remains in the fields with a chance of snow in the forecast for central and northern parts of the state.

“This is the first time I’ve harvested corn in December,” said Jeff Smith, who was working overtime Tuesday to bring in the last five or so of 800 acres of corn on his farm about 30 miles north of Springfield.

One of the latest harvests in recent memory results from the lingering effects of a cold, wet October, especially across central Illinois. There is even a possibility isolated stands of corn will have to wait until next spring, said Matt Montgomery, director of the Mason County Extension service.

“We probably have crops that won’t get out at all. There are some people talking to me about fields that they may not be able to hit until March or April,” Montgomery said.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service in Springfield described “muddy combines” in a weekly update Tuesday that found 72 percent of the corn crop has been harvested statewide compared to a five-year average of 99 percent.

Only about 4 percent of the soybean crop remains out. The late corn and soybean harvest has begun to delay winter wheat planting, the report added.

Precipitation statewide was a little below normal in November, “but most of that rain fell in central Illinois,” said Jim Angel, state climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign.

“Central Illinois didn’t get much of a break, though we did have a stretch of pretty nice weather in early November,” Angel said.

He said the state has been in a similar pattern the last two years, but that not too much should be read into the trend.

“The last two or three years, we’ve had fairly active winters with lots of systems rolling through, ice storms and snow storms. The summers actually have been rather quiet, with not too many hot days, and the amount of severe weather has been pretty low,” Angel said.

Tim Landis can be reached at (217) 788-1536 ortim.landis@sj-r.com.

November weather

Statewide

  • Average temperature: 46.9 degrees; 5.1 degrees above normal; seventh-warmest on record
  • Precipitation: 2.61 inches; 0.71 inches below normal

Springfield

  • Average temperature: 48.9 degrees; sixth-warmest on record
  • Rainfall: 3.48 inches; 0.61 inches above normal