CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) — Illinois is in the middle of a dry stretch, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. The forecast shows dry conditions for the end of May and beginning of June, and while experts say it isn’t cause for concern yet, it could lead to rapid-onset drought conditions in parts of Illinois.
“The one field, April 29th, is when it got planted. We’re typically getting between 3 quarters and one inch of rain per week, since that was planted on April 29th we have had .95 inches of rain,” explained Seth Hesterberg of Sonrise Farms.
Sonrise Farms in Champaign county, is already seeing the impact the lack of rain is having on their crops.
“And we’re getting into the time where the crops really try and start to take off, and they are not this year because there’s nothing for them to take off on,” said Hesterberg.
Though to the west, in Rochester, farmer Dave Ramsey said it would take around 3 weeks of dry hot weather for his crops to be impacted. But he knows other areas aren’t so lucky.
“There are areas in Illinois, especially west of the Illinois River, maybe from Quincy in the Quad Cities that were in pretty severe drought last fall, and did not get totally recharged over winter. Where the crops may be suffering at this point in time,” said Ramsey.
State climatologist Trent Ford encourages farmers and others across the state to send in drought condition reports, so they can be prepared in case conditions worsen.
“We need to be ahead of these things so that if we do persist that drought for another 2-4 weeks, and we do start to see some of those impacts, that we’re ready to go. We know where the problem areas are, we know what resources need to go there, and we know what’s happening,” said Ford.
Ford says that most likely we will see these current conditions impact shrubs, trees, and our ecosystem before our agriculture. To submit a drought condition form you can click here or email the Illinois State Climatologist at email@example.com