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Published May 05, 2010, 03:08 PM

Illinois farmers are planting soybeans early this year

PEORIA, Ill. — After two years of soggy spring weather, Illinois farmers have taken advantage of this year’s sunny skies to get their soybeans into the ground early.

PEORIA, Ill. — After two years of soggy spring weather, Illinois farmers have taken advantage of this year’s sunny skies to get their soybeans into the ground early.

Farmers have planted 11 percent of their soybeans, compared with the five-year average of 4 percent for this time of year, according to the state’s weekly crop report.

Patrick Kirchhofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau, said farmers are way ahead of where they’ve been in the last couple years.

“The last two years have been very stressful,” said farmer Kent Hodel, of Metamora. “Having the crops in three weeks earlier this year means we can manage our crops a lot better.”

Dan Farney, who plans to plant this week, said he didn’t get his soybeans in until early June last year. He farms between Morton and Tremont in central Illinois.

Some farmers have turned to technology to give them a boost, said Earl Allen, interim director of the Tazewell County/Fulton County Extension office.

“They didn’t want to be late this year. In some cases, farmers up-sized equipment so they could plant faster,” he said.

Now that planting is under way, farmers just have to hope the rains come when the crops need them most — in August for soybeans and July for corn, Farney said.

The dry weather also has meant that corn has been planted earlier. According to the crop report, 87 percent of the corn crop has been planted, compared with 5 percent at this time last year.

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