Racing The Rain In East Central Illinois


Jeff Fisher is in the same boat as a majority of Midwestern farmers have found themselves this year – struggling to get his crops planted in what has turned out to be one of the wettest springs in U.S. recorded history. Fisher began planting on May 16 and says it’s been a struggle since the beginning to find a field dry enough. “You don’t want to make a mess of things – ruts, getting equipment stuck,” he explained, noting how these mishaps can cause damage that could potentially last for years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average precipitation for May 2019 came in at 4.41 inches — 1.50 inches above average, making it the second wettest of any month on record for the contiguous United States. In fact, the NOAA says precipitation across the U.S. that accumulated over June 2018–May 2019 “shattered the previous record for any 12-month period”, coming in at 7.73 inches above average.

The wet trend has meant a slow start in getting this year’s corn and soybeans in the ground. After a few dry days in East central Illinois last week, Fisher was hopeful he’d be able to finish up his remaining two fields. Checking in with his AgMRI HeatSeeker alerts, he was able to determine that conditions were probably dry enough to get the planter out. HeatSeeker identifies hot and cold zone soil variability. High variability can indicate areas of over-saturation or other problems that could lead to planting issues. The good news was that Fisher’s field hadn’t generated any alerts as no unusual hot or cold spots were being detected, meaning soil moisture levels were consistently dry. Confirmed by both an ag retailer and his son early that morning, he had herbicide reapplied to the 95-acre soybean field and followed right behind them on the planter.

We stopped by to visit with Fisher just as he was finishing the last few rows of soybeans in this field, racing to get over to his final field before the rain clouds looming in the background caught up with him. He’s got his fingers crossed that he won’t be dealing with a lot of replant this season but intends to use AgMRI crop analysis tools to identify any areas that do need it. Our Smart Alerts are able to warn users on developing situations before they are even visible to the human eye, with row-by-row accuracy available via AgMRI’s RowTracer Analysis. Obviously, being able to pinpoint the exact areas of crop stress removes the guesswork from scouting efforts, helping growers maximize one of their most precious resources – time!

All of us at IntelinAir are wishing Fisher and the rest of U.S. farmers a much smoother growing season ahead.

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