Drought hits southern Illinois crops hard

June 27, 2012

Anthony Martinez

(Flickr/Tom Woodward)
Corn crops among hardest hit by hot, dry weather.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is predicting many crops in southern Illinois could be lost due to a drought expected to last through late September.

The U.S. Drought Report, a collobration between federal and state officials, reported that 70% of the state of Illinois is currently experiencing “abnormally dry” to “extreme drought” conditions.

Illinois Farm Bureau spokesman, John Hawkins, said corn and soybean crops in southern Illinois have been hardest hit.

"I’ve actually seen some farmer photos in deep southern Illinois where I could call certain fields just basically a total loss," Hawkins said. 

Droughts also mean additional weed and inspect stress is placed on crops. Hawkins said that chemicals used to treat crops to protect them from weeds and insects need water in order to activate and work effectively. 

"Murphy’s Law is pretty much in place for much of the corn and soybean crop. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong this summer... There's not much you can do about it, most farmers just have to grin and bear it," Hawkins said. 

It’s still too early to say exactly how many crops will be lost this summer, but Hawkins said that any expectations for normal or above normal crop yields are now “out the window.”

In Chicago, the city faces record temperatures predicted throughout the summer with little relief coming from rainfall. The National Weather Service said total cumulative rainfall for June was nearly half an inch, almost three inches less than the thirty year average.