Small weather breaks bring bean planting to the northeast | Harvests


MANHATTAN, Illinois – Dave Kestel was one of the lucky farmers who planted soybeans in northeastern Illinois in April, before more rain and cool temperatures dominated the end of the month and the early days of May.

“This is the third year that I have planted soybeans before corn,” he said.

The Switch has served him well with good returns.

Kestel planted his first 30 acres of soybeans in late April and waited for the weather to allow him and his farming partner, daughter Frankie Kestel-Forsythe, to plant more on their farm near Manhattan in Will County.

Kestel started tilling the soybean soil on April 28 and was ready to sow on April 29, but the forecasts were questionable.

“I called my agronomist,” he said, wanting a second option to see if it would be a good decision with continued rains and cooler temperatures ahead. Together they decided that the best decision was to plant.

“I usually stop planting at 4 p.m. This time I started at 4pm, so glad I did,” he said on May 2 as the rainy and cool days returned.

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Warmer and drier winds blew on May 7, opening a new planting window. On May 11, Kestel started planting a plot of soybeans.

“Usually we start planting maize on April 24 and here it is May 11 and I don’t have a grain of maize in the ground,” he said.

Kestel hoped that would change before evening.

In April, he also planted sweet corn. He usually plants a few rows at a time, spacing out the planting dates to make the season last longer. Last year, he sold sweet corn from July 4 to Labor Day. He said it’s very popular with his customers and sells out fast – as soon as he releases it, it’s available on social media.


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