Rainy weekend helps restore corn crop’s health

By The Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A rainy weekend showered central Illinois with two or more inches of badly needed moisture and pumped new life into what had been a sagging corn crop.

A week ago, many of the state’s corn farmers were worried after a dry six weeks left their plants weak.

But University of Illinois crop specialist Emerson Nafziger said Monday that most should be in much better shape.

“This was almost as good as we could have hoped for, at least in most of Illinois,” he said. “The recovery of the crop is pretty quick.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture now estimates that 69 percent of the state’s corn crop is in good or excellent shape, up from 56 percent last week.

Rainfall between Thursday and early Sunday ranged from 3.1 inches in Springfield and 2.43 inches in Bloomington to 1.52 inches in Danville, on the Indiana border, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Miller said.

Widely scattered rain was possible Tuesday, he said, and most of the state can expect rain with the approach Wednesday of a cold front, he said.

Illinois farmers planted a record 12.9 million acres of corn this year to feed demand created by the increased production of the fuel additive ethanol.