SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — Spring planting is behind last year’s pace in Illinois, but dry weather over the weekend allowed many farmers to get out in the fields.

Over a third of corn and soybean fields have been planted around the state, which is well behind last year. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Illinois Field Office, last year at this time, more than half of the corn and soybean planting was completed.

Kelly Robertson with Precision Crop Services said on the latest Illinois Soybean Association podcast, those who haven’t planted seed in the ground yet shouldn’t panic.

“Calm down,” said Robertson. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. Everybody acts like they’re so far behind.”

Shelby Weckel with Ehler Brothers Seed said that farmers should make sure the fields are ready before moving forward.

“Go out, check the fields and make sure they’re right because of inventory issues that we have this year for seed that is available, if you don’t do it right the first time, you probably will not get back what you have in your bag in your shed right now,” said Weckel.

According to ground reports, farmers in the western part of Illinois appear to be further along with spring planting than other areas of the state.

Illinois led the nation in soybean production in 2023 with nearly 649 million bushels produced. Iowa and Minnesota were second and third.

Illinois was second in corn production behind only Iowa. McLean County is the top corn producing county in the country.

By KEVIN BESSLER for the Illinois Radio Network