Over a half dozen southern Illinois counties are eligible for federal help as heat and drought take their toll on the corn crop, and central Illinois is not far behind. Russ Derango is manager of the Illinois State University Farm, he says the corn is beginning to curl in an attempt to retain moisture, plants are shorter than they should be, and yields will likely be lower in McLean County:
"Last year yields were, were very high, you know I don't know exactly what, I think the county averaged 175 or 180 bushes per acre for the county, I imagine your seeing some fields that'll be lucky to hit a hundred bushels this year if that."
Derango says it's critical that some measurable rain occurs in the next week and a half, because of the current crop development stage:
"pollination is really going on, started probably about a week ago, so it's a critical time to get some rain"
According to the Illinois State Water Survey, the region has not received any significant rainfall since June 21st, and central Illinois is about 8 inches short of precipitation for the year.
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