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A cold, wet spring pushes back planting season, but one Illinois farmer says it's not time to panic

Typically, local planting seasons begin in mid-April. However, one Illinois farmer says he's not worried about the late start impacting his crop yields.

KEWANEE, Ill. — There's a golden rule when it comes to farming: you can't control the weather. 

Typically, area farmers start planting around mid-April. But after a cold and rainy start to the spring planting season, many weren't able to get into their fields until May.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 55% of Illinois corn had been planted by May 15, compared to a five-year average of 70% by this point in the season. 

However, one farmer in Henry County, Illinois, says it's too early to worry about the impact planting times will have on crop yields. 

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"Yeah, it's a little bit later, but I'm not too concerned about it," said Brian Corkill. "Probably the best yield we've ever had was on corn planted in the middle of May so I'm not too worried about it. As long as we have good weather going forward." 

Corkill farms about 1,200 acres near Kewanee with his father. This year, he began planting his 700 acres of soybeans and 500 acres of corn on May 1 and wrapped up 17 days later. 

In the 30 years he's been farming, Corkill says this year was only the second time he could remember not planting anything in April. 

"From a ground condition standpoint, you can plant in April. But if there's rain that's forecasted, and cold temperatures, that can actually detrimentally affect your yield at the end of the day," he said. 

Usually, soybeans can withstand harsher April temperatures better than corn. But this year, he said the sustained moisture and long-term forecasts held him back. 

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"If we have good conditions, but then all of a sudden we're gonna have a cold front come through and it's gonna be cold and wet, we'll hold off and wait for a better forecast before we'll plant," Corkill said. 

Once he was able to get out into the field, planting went smoothly. And the recent heatwave actually helped him make up for some of that 'lost time.' 

"As warm as it's been, we're gonna have- from the time it was planted until it's emerged, it'll probably be about five or six days, where I know guys that planted over three weeks ago and it's just come up," Corkill said. 

Now, he's focused on the growing season, and what this summer will bring. 

"You kind of have to brush it off," Corkill said. "Only worry about the things you can control and we can't control the weather." 

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