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Farm Progress Show ends with hopes for rain

DECATUR — Up until recent weeks, farmers across Illinois, including Lynn Rohrscheib of Fairmount, were optimistic about the possibility of a bountiful harvest.

For Rohrscheib and other growers this week at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, concern has grown about crops drying out before harvest is ready to start next month. It's like the water faucet for rain has been turned off and sealed shut, she said.

"Soybeans are hurting," said Rohrscheib, who serves as a director for the Illinois Soybean Association. "They need a drink. If we get rain, we'll be all right."

As for corn, analysts speaking during the Farm Progress Show, which concluded Thursday, appeared to think the crop is going to be sufficient as it heads into the final growing stages before harvest.

"Up until this last week, it's been fairly stress free," Emerson Nafziger, a University of Illinois crop production specialist, said of corn. "We've got a crop that has been now living on stored moisture for the month of August. We would still like more rain."

The weather over the next two weeks is going to be critical for the soybean crop, said David Hartke, a farmer from Teutopolis who serves on the United Soybean Board. Corn is already an improvement from the damage suffered in last year's drought, he said.

"If we get 1 inch of rain today, it would mean millions to the soybean farmers of the state," Hartke said. "My corn crop is six times better than last year. It's not going to be a bin buster like we thought three weeks ago."
Despite the setbacks and challenges presenting themselves, Nafziger isn't ready to give up on the harvest.

"More of the surprises at harvest will be positive than will be negative," he said.

The 2014 Farm Progress Show will be in Boone, Iowa. The event will return to Decatur for Sept. 1-3, 2015.

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