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Farm

  • In The Fields...Again

    Larry Osborne swings around to begin another trip down the field as he plants corn in the Shafter area northwest of Vandalia on Tuesday.

    Some area farmers are getting back into the fields after last week's rains again delayed planting in the county. 

  • Wet soils impact anhydrous application

    Wet soil conditions are causing concern for anhydrous ammonia application this spring, said Fabian Fernandez, University of Illinois Extension specialist in soil fertility and plant nutrition.
    Anhydrous ammonia is the most widely used nitrogen fertilizer source in Illinois. In order for this fertilizer to be effective, good soil moisture conditions are necessary, Fernandez said.
    Ideal soil conditions are about 15-20 percent moisture. Within these moisture levels, a fine-textured soil, such as silty clay loam, feels slightly moist.

  • Planting delays prompt changes

     As the planting delay lengthens, many farmers are wondering if they should switch crops from corn to soybeans, and if they should change corn hybrids from earlier to later ones.
    “We’re ahead of the rest of the Corn Belt, but with only about 10 percent planted in April, it’s a disappointing start after the dry weather in early April,” said Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomist.

  • Wet weather stalls planting

    For the second week in a row, cool temperatures, moist conditions and heavy rains have kept seeding and other field activities on hold across the state.
    A few areas were able to get out into the field on Sunday evening. The statewide average temperature was 1.2 degrees below normal, at 55.4 degrees.
    Average precipitation for the state was 2.34 inches. The norm for the time period is 0.9 inches. Saturated fields and flooding have been a problem at some locations, especially along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.  

  • Cicadas ready to emerge after 13-year absence

    For the past 13 years, cicada nymphs have been underground, feeding on tree and shrub roots, but according to University of Illinois entomologist James Appleby, they will be emerging very soon, and when they do, you’ll know it because you’ll hear them singing.

  • Flooding continues

    Area farmers are feeling the impact of an exceptionally wet spring, This field, located southeast of Vandalia along U.S. Route 51, remains flooded, even though the Kaskaskia River level is finally dropping. The wet conditions are causing farmers to consider switching to late-season corn hybrids, or possibly planting soybeans instead of corn.

  • Following Illinois' grain

    It’s not often that agriculture producers get to see the end-users of their labors. But that’s exactly what Fayette County elevator owner Ken Cripe saw recently when he traveled to Central and South America on an Illinois Farm Bureau study tour.

  • Farm Briefs

    Temps down, precip up during February

    Last month, statewide temperatures continued to be below normal, while precipitation was above normal throughout the state. Much of the state was hit with heavy snow early in the month, with total snowfall for the month ranging from less than 6 inches to more than 24 inches.

    Much of the wheat crop had been blanketed by snow for the first half of the month, and still remains dormant.

    February also marked the beginning of calving season for many cattle operations throughout the state.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency aids rural areas

    Last year, the Illinois Farm Service Agency provided nearly $650 million in assistance to the state’s agriculture producers.
    Those funds help farmers and ranchers recover from disasters, implement conservation practices and support other activities to ensure the well-being of American farmers.
    Following is the breakdown of the federal farm payments issued in Illinois during 2010:

  • VCHS FFA celebrates FFA Week

    The week of Feb. 19-26 was designated as National FFA Week, and the Vandalia FFA chapter celebrated by hosting a variety of activities.
    On Monday, all high school students were encouraged to support agriculture by wearing articles of clothing that were agriculturally related.