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Dust flying: Illinois planters roll

Updated: 04/15/2011 @ 12:04pm

LOVINGTON, Illinois (Agriculture.com)--With a string of warm, sunny days this week, farmers in central Illinois have been able to make planting progress. Though Illinois started the week with 4% of its corn planted, above all states, the warming soil conditions are aiding farmers in this part of the state that want to have corn ready for harvest in late August/early September for talk of a corn shortage.

After a visit through central Illinois, it was evident not all farmers were prepared to hit the field just yet. However, the ones that have taken the planter to the field have experienced some of the best soil conditions in years.

Mark Hobrock, a grain merchandiser for Sunrise Ag, also farms with his father Butch and brothers Doug and Brad, in Beardstown, Illinois.

"My 60-year old father is telling us that he has seen the soil conditions this good, only twice in his lifetime. Dad said the other day this crop has gone in the ground as well as 2004. We remember that because 2004 was a record crop-year. I'm not sure about a record crop this year, but things are looking great," Mark says.

The Hobrocks' farm over 2,000 acres in west-central Illinois. Due to varying soil types, making it difficult to grow soybeans, the Hobrocks run a continuous corn operation. The Hobrocks irrigate their crops, with most of their land along the Sangamon River.

"I have farmer-customers that will be 50% planted this week, and some guys haven't even started. In general, we're planting this corn crop in pretty timely fashion," Hobrock says.

As of Thursday, the Hobrocks are one-third finished with corn planting.  

Wide-Ranging Planting Dates

Doug Martin farms with his father Jeff near Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. After starting planting on April 5, the Martin's are already 30% completed. Even with any unexpected delays, the central Illinois farmer feels comfortable planting into May, if need be.

"We'll stick with planting the amount of corn we want to. Soil conditions are the best that a lot of farmers have seen. All of our fall work was done, plus had a good winter some freeze and thaw. Things look good," Doug Martin says.

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