Will County received limited snow this winter, but there are a number of early signs showing that the grounds will be set for the planting of crops and plants, a local expert says.
Mark Schneidewind, manager of the Will County Farm Bureau in Joliet, said there has been an adequate amount of moisture in the ground for the growing of crops and plants despite the lack of snow in winter.
“A couple of weeks ago, we saw rain, and it was more rain than we would’ve liked,” he said. “Some parts of the county received close to 4 inches. Ideally, rain should be 1.5 to 2 inches. We should be good with having had ample moisture in the growing season. Sometimes we need a good packing of snow—always looking for moisture. This time around, the ground wasn’t frozen. It’s the same effect as if it hadn’t been frozen. We should have adequate moisture going into spring.”
Schneidewind said with spring arriving early this year, we could see farms looking to start their planting season in a matter of weeks.
“We won’t see much planting until the week of April 17,” he said. “That’s pending weather conditions. That’s when you’ll see some of the corn being planted.”
Schneidewind added that it’s possible that some larger farms will begin their growing season ahead of the Easter holiday.
Like the rest of the Chicagoland area, Will County witnessed a mild January and an unseasonably warm February.
Schneidewind said if early indicators prove to be correct, some of the wheat grown within the county that came out of dormancy in recent weeks could be impacted by the early arrival of spring.
“A wheat is planted September through October of last year,” he said. “It’ll go dormant during winter. Once it comes out of dormancy [as it had], it likes to grow. We don’t think it’s damaged. It’s going to take a few more months to determine if there’s a slight damage to the crop in Will County.”
“There could be a 20 to 30 percent reduction yield, but we don’t know that yet,” he said.
Schneidewind said a similar effect could impact what planters see when they look to grow perennials.
“Some of our perennials, we might see some damage,” he said. “Regular flowers, you won’t see problems. You may not see some of the prettiness when they begin to bloom.”
Schneidewind said the trees should be fine, however.
“They were far enough along,” he said.
Schneidewind said though we had a good December and it started to rain in March, the early arrival of spring should present no problem for crops and plants grown in Will County.
“It put us in a good position going into spring planting,” he said.