Bureau County farmers anxious for weather break as window for planting crop narrows

WALNUT, Illinois -- Michael Ganschow has been farming fulltime for a little more than a decade. He and his father grow corn and soybean on the Ganschow Farm in northern Bureau County. But the weather hasn't been playing nice and Thursday's rainfall, less than an inch, didn't help.

"We were wet to begin with, now we’re really saturated," Ganschow, a sixth-generation farmer, said.

Parts of his fields were inches deep in standing water. “You see water running out even with a half inch of rain, which isn’t normal," he said, adding that he would have to replant some of those patches.

The father-son duo was lucky enough to get some dry weather last month, just long enough to plant 500 of the Ganschows' 3000 acres. With the continuing rain, he and his father haven't been able to do any planting in the past two weeks.

This time last year, Ganschow said, he had already finished planting.

"Normally we’d have corn growing and we’d be putting fertilizer in to help that corn grow. Right now we are struggling to even get the planter out."

Some of the corn was beginning to come up above ground. "These are the first ones I've seen come out of the ground," he said.

"We like the soil temperature to be 50 degrees before we plant corn and soybeans," said Evan Hultine, President of the Bureau County Farm Bureau and the owner and operator of Hultine Farms in Princeton. "It’s definitely not there."

But Ganschow isn’t hitting panic mode just yet.

"We kinda know the cards we been dealt right now. But we don’t know how the hands gonna play out until the end of the year," he said optimistically.

He said he was more than ready to log long hours when the weather comes around: "There’s gonna be a lot of work to be done and working around the clock, and that’s okay with me."

He said he was thankful for the long hours to come, because it could be worse: "At times it really feels like you can’t catch a break. But in the area that we farm, we’ve been very fortunate."

"You look at Iowa and Nebraska and a lot of guys farming near the Mississippi river. They are dealing with situations where it’s gonna take  at least a month before they can get in and do anything."

Some farms that have been flooded could be ruined for years, he said.

"I’m just gonna be thankful and I think about the farmers that are dealing with a lot worse than we are."

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