There's no point in worrying, what will be, will be. But due to drought, Illinois is likely to loose the majority of it's crops this year. Iowa and Illinois reign in the growing of corn and soybeans. If I remember correctly, Iowa is first in corn and second in soybeans and Illinois is the reverse. This year the north and west central portions of the state are in extreme drought, and the remainder of the state is in severe drought. The desperate need for precipitation flows from roughly Milwaukee to central Missouri with echos of severe, moderate and abnormally dry ringing the area hardest hit. Some analysts are predicting a twenty percent decline in production for the year.
Friday, the Department of Agriculture released it's report for July and pegged the crop at 4% less than their previous estimate, and a whopping 12% less than the record harvest of last year. If we were out of the drought, this drop would be bad enough, but the weather forecasters are predicting a return to hot, dry weather. That weather brings with it an increased problem from spider mites, Japanese beetles and aphids. During times of drought, frequently the only green plants available to these insects are crops.
Farmers will be eligible for low-interest loans through the government, and many of them will have hedged their bets with crop insurance. Some have even chosen to diversify their operations to prevent a year with total crop loss, but there are still many farmers who will suffer long term damage to their operations based on the outcome of this year's crop.
It's worth noting that corn is the biggest crop in the U.S.. Soybeans are second. We are the world's biggest producer and exporter of these crops. Our agriculture colleges in the land grant universities have sent people abroad to teach them how to use these crops in order to expand market. This year we will have less to export, so there's a threat of loosing markets which we have created.
Without sounding like a doomsayer, we can only hope that the drought passes, and that this isn't the start of a cycle of difficult times. This would be a good time to be researching the use of natural fertilizers rather than chemical fertilizers as a way to improve our soil and perhaps better hold moisture for the crop, but that's an issue for another day.