CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County farmers saw better than expected crop production this year, in line with predictions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At the beginning of the growing season, farmers from around the county expressed concern over how dry conditions would affect their crops, but the season – although slightly challenging at first – went well, said Dan Ziller, a Huntley farmer.
“Amazingly, we ended up with a pretty good crop,” he said. “Our bean yield is a little above average, and the corn turned out better than anticipated. I don’t know if we’re going to have record yields, but it’s going to be better than a lot of us anticipated.”
Ziller farms corn, soybeans, hay and wheat and runs a dairy farm, as well. He said that weather this season delayed harvest a little, but mild fall weather is helping to make up for it.
“It was hard to get the beans harvested because it was raining quite a bit then,” he said. “And then with the warm weather, we have had very heavy dew, which delayed harvest start up.”
Hebron farmer Mike Von Bergen said he found similar bountiful crops this year on his more than 2,000-acre farm. He farms corn, beans and market vegetables.
“Soybeans were phenomenal, so was the corn and wheat and all the vegetables,” he said. “The pumpkin crop was more than exceptional. … Everyone else is in the same situation.”
The USDA predicted record-high corn and soybean production in 2016, particularly in some Midwest states such as Illinois and Iowa. Weather and field conditions were key contributors to the increased production, according to the department.
Von Bergen said that every season has its challenges, but the 2016 season was tame overall.
“We never had any time to do anything else,” he said. “We’ve been working from sun up, to more than sun down. We never got things ready for the fall because we were so busy with the produce. We were constantly picking this year. There was always something to do, because everything kept producing.”