Farmers reap sizable crops

By Stephan L. Lopes

DeKalb farmers were not as hard hit by last year’s drought as others because of favorable soil, and this year, they are reaping sizable crops due to improved weather.

DeKalb County’s harvest was “great, compared with last year because of last year’s rains,” said DeKalb County Farm Bureau representative Russ Higgins.

Last year’s harvest was dismal due to the lack of rain, said Higgins. State-wide corn yields for last year were a disappointing 70 bushels per acre, he said.

DeKalb farmers did better than the rest of the state during the drought year by harvesting 130 bushels of corn per acre, said Higgins. “DeKalb is blessed with its soil type,” he said.

However, this year’s county test plots indicate yields of about 200 bushels per acre, said Higgins. The official statistics for the county are not in yet, but Higgins said he believes the overall yields will be similar. The Farm Bureau uses test plots to estimate yields in the county, he said.

Higgins said he expects this year’s state-wide corn yields to be about 170 bushels per acre. The Farm Bureau’s test plots are encouraging for other crops as well. The plots indicate yields of 50 bushels per acre for soybeans and 70 bushels per acre for beans.

Last year, the county averaged about 44 to 47 bushels per acre, compared to the rest of the state’s average which was in the high 20’s, said Higgins.

Winter does not influence the following year’s harvest very much, said Higgins. However, a good snowfall is helpful in insulating the ground from the elements, he said.

Higgins said he considers the DeKalb County Farm Bureau as “the Underwriter’s Laboratory of agriculture.” They are associated with the University of Illinois’ Cooperative Extension Services, so they are impartial and nonprofit, said Higgins.