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Farmers practicing patience

SAVOY -- Wet weather and cooler-than-average temperatures are keeping farmers around Central Illinois from planting crops.
SAVOY -- Wet weather and cooler-than-average temperatures are keeping farmers around Central Illinois from planting crops. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out the impact of moist Mother Nature.

It's already a week later than they usually start. April 20 is the date many farmers shoot for.

"It's not late yet, but with the forecast and the saturated fields, with no rain, we're probably a week away from being able to run," said Dick Miller. 

Even that's wishful thinking, with storm chances back in the forecast as soon as Thursday. Add to that rain from the past few weeks, and you've got flooded fields.

It's leaving farmers like Miller playing the waiting game. It's definitely a different story from what they were doing this time last year.

"Last year, the whole farming world was in a turmoil because planting in March is just unheard of around here,"  said Miller.

Farmers said their damp dilemma goes beyond what they can see on the surface.

"The fields start to grey off on top and it looks like it's getting dry," said Miller, "But then you go out and walk on it or try to do anything with it, and the underneath needs to dry out too."

Another common concern is that the things they didn't plant are sprouting up anyway.

"The weeds out in the fields are starting to grow, and until we get them worked down, they're going to continue to grow," said Miller. 

But Miller said it's still too soon to panic, saying he'll give Mother Nature a couple more weeks before he gets too concerned.

"I'm a farmer," said Miller. "I'm always optimistic. Every year it's going to be great."

Miller has about 160 acres on that farm. He says, if he has to, he can get the entire crop planted in a week or less, but he just needs the weather to cooperate before he can do that.

Once farmers do start planting, drivers will need to be more careful with tractors on the roads. Farmers say they'll be in crunch-time mode when planting starts the longer they have to wait, so they may be on the roads for longer hours than usual to make up for lost time.
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