First Day Project – what to bring and where to drop it off – click here

Busting the drought at Galesburg’s Munson Hybrids

Recent wet weather is a blessing rather than a curse for Knox County farmers. That’s because it’s helping to wash out the drought that plagued growing conditions last year.

On a damp, drizzly Monday, a rain-soaked field is a sight for John Hennenfent’s sore eyes.

“Seeing that kind of moisture is really a big relief,” he said.

His company, Munson Hybrids, received more than an inch of rain over the weekend. That brings its yearly precipitation totals to an impressive 5.7 inches. It’s enough to relieve drought conditions in most of Knox County.

“That’s really gone a long ways to getting us through the drought,” he continued. “I think this will really kind of break the back, at least in our area.”

It was quite a different story in the same fields last August. Drought and heat pushed up the seed corn harvest.

“We were dry and under a lot of stress when these ears were trying to form,” he continued.

Extreme weather reduced the crop to about 70% of expectations. That forced more imports to make up the difference.

After drought conditions hit the crop during crucial pollination time in 2012, this wet weather should be a good omen for spring planting.

Inside Munson Hybrids’ new bagging facility, workers are wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Farmers in Illinois and Wisconsin will plant these seeds in coming weeks. It’s a growing season that’s getting a boost.

“I think most of the growers in Knox County are pretty much satisfied with the moisture they’ve gotten in the last few months,” Hennenfent concluded.

Wet fields offering hope for better weather and a bountiful 2013 in these Galesburg fields.