BELLEVILLE, Ill. – An abundance of recent rain is forcing area farmers to delay spring planting and Thursday’s rain didn’t help.
Farmers are basically in an unwanted holding pattern that is making them a bit uneasy.
“It’s frustrating because we should be out working and we’re not,” said Greg Guenther, who owns Guenther Farms near Belleville.
Guenther has farmed hundreds of acres for decades, planting corn and soybeans. He wants to be prepping his ground but instead, his equipment sits idle. It is simply too wet.
“You can tell by looking out there that the soil is extremely muddy. We can’t do a thing when it’s like that,” he said.
Guenther has dealt with many weather challenges over the years but he says recently it’s been exceptionally wet. In the last month, he’s received well over five inches of rain. And he says the generally cool temperatures have not given the ground a chance to dry.
Guenther needs a dry spell to make up for lost time.
“There will be long days and short nights and we’ll spend a lot of hours in the tractors this spring getting it done,” he said.
At Eckert’s Country Store and Farms in Belleville, thousands of peach trees, apple trees, and Christmas trees are sitting in a massive indoor cooler because it’s too wet to plant them.
Eckert’s Inc. president Chris Eckert says, under ideal conditions, the trees would already be in the ground; unfortunately, his fields are soaked.
“We want to have the soil get firmly in contact with those roots. If the soil is wet, it just packs together and doesn’t fall in around those roots and leaves air gaps that will ultimately lead to the roots dying,” Eckert said.
Both Eckert and Guenther say they still have plenty of time to plant but the wet weather does make them a little concerned.
“Sometimes it increases the anxiety a little bit because there’s another thing to worry about. Like, what if it doesn’t stop raining? But at this point in time I think we’re going to be just fine,” Eckert said.
It’s all part of farming and dealing with Mother Nature.
“Things happen when they’re supposed to happen and we just roll with the punches and do what we can. That’s all you can do,” Guenther said.
Guenther tells us the wet weather isn’t only impacting farmers, it’s also hurting businesses that supply services and products to the farmers.
Many people in the farming industry are hoping for drier weather soon.