Fall moisture brings county near normal
By Julie Arbach
It has been a year of ups, downs and widely varying precipitation levels in the county. McLean County Agent Pat Carpentier said right now the county is doing okay as far as moisture, but the only way to fill dried up potholes and stock dams, short of a deluge of rain, is with a sizeable snow melt in the spring. Across the county crops this year ranked about average. "We had the good and the bad, but when you average the areas that did get some extra rain, it equaled out all of them," said Carpentier. "But there were some areas of the county that had a poor crop." The yields, he said, related to when showers came through, type of soil and what was grown on the land the previous year. "A lot of the ground that had sunflowers on last year and were seeded this year didn’t perform real well throughout the county," said Carpentier. Attributing that to the fact that sunflowers use more moisture later in the season. Land previously planted to canola had much the same affect, he said. "All the crops seeded on pea ground (land where peas were grown in 2007) were excellent because they are low users of water and also produce some nitrogen," said Carpentier. "There are a lot of different factors that come in to play, it isn’t just one thing." Timing of showers and when crops were planted also played a factor. "The stuff seeded earlier seems to have been a little better," added Carpentier. "This fall the row crops are catching it because of the rain and snow." Fertilizer and chemical prices have and will continue to be a concern for farmers next year.