Weather

Madelyn Beck / Illinois Newsroom

Floodwaters on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers may be going down, but rain has continued to soak farmland around much of the state of Illinois, and more rain could be on the way later this month.

Wet fields make it hard to plant because farmers use large, heavy machinery in the fields. Even if a field is dry enough for equipment not to get stuck, too much pressure on wet soil makes it hard for seedlings to develop solid root systems.

Farmer Art Tanderup holds a handful of the sandy soil found on his farm. "There are times when you feel like you're in a blizzard when that sand is blowing," Tanderup says.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

Forecasters say the El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean should lead to slightly warmer and wetter conditions across the Midwest this winter. That’s good news for some farmers who struggled with drought over the summer.

A wheat field in southwest Kansas, which saw wheat stalks standing about two-feet-high before the storm, is covered in snow.
Courtesy Gary Millershaski

Farmers in western Kansas are worried a spring blizzard that dumped as much as two feet of snow destroyed much of this year’s wheat crop.

Kansas is the No. 1 wheat state in the country. About 20 percent of the nation’s wheat crop last year was grown by Kansas farmers.

The heavy snow and cold temperatures delivered a one-two punch to a crop that had been in good shape. Rick Horton, who farms 3,000-4,000 acres of wheat in southwest Kansas near Leoti, says he’s expecting massive losses.