Grim News for Illinois Crops

The latest USDA Illinois Weather and Crops report was released this afternoon. The topsoil conditions were rated at 52 percent “very short” and 37 percent “short” and only 11 percent adequate. Soil moisture conditions were best in northern Illinois, and deteriorated southward. Hardest hit was southeastern Illinois with 100 percent of the topsoil and 100 percent of subsoil rated as “very short”.
The corn crop was rated at 12 percent “very poor” and 21 percent “poor”. The soybean crop was rated at 11 percent “very poor” and 20 percent “poor”.
Several people have compared this year to 1988. How bad was soil moisture in 1988? According to the USDA report for July 5, 1988, the entire state was listed as 100 percent “very short” on topsoil moisture. However, they rated the corn crop at 2 percent “very poor” and 20 percent “poor”. The soybean crop was rated as 2 percent “very poor” and 14 percent “poor”. So they rated the soil moisture to be in worse shape yet they rated the crop to be in better shape in 1988, compared to 2012. It’s hard to make sense of the numbers. Of course, these are subjective ratings and the procedure for rating crops and soils has likely changed with time.

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