DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — When the latest Drought Monitor map was issued Thursday morning, east-central Illinois had a distinctive shortage of moisture.

The map showed a bullseye on Illinois, centered on Champaign, Douglas and Piatt Counties, and that is the worst of the flash drought that we’ve had.

But something really strange happened that same day: it rained in Douglas County and the corn came out of it.

Curt Clapper farms just a couple miles north of Tuscola.


Stu Ellis: How much rain did you get here for the first time in years?

Curt Clapper: We got seven-tenths this morning, so that’s a vast improvement from what we’ve had.

Stu Ellis: That’s about the most you had since, what, the middle of May?

Curt Clapper: About two weeks ago, when it popped up that Saturday, we had seven-tenths here, then. It’s been dry, an inch-and-a-half for the month of June total.

Stu Ellis: What did this flash drought do to the yield on your corn? How much did it kick it down?

Curt Clapper: It’s got to be dragging. It’s hard to judge right now. We’re getting ready to pollinate and they’ve improved the hybrids over the years, so we’ve increased the root capabilities. It’d be interesting. But it’s been stressed for a long time.

Stu Ellis: What sort of nitrogen did you use this year?

Curt Clapper: We split apply. We use anhydrous down as a pre, came back side-dressed, liquid with sulfur added, then a little foliar toppage to try to enhance some nutrients to it since its so dry to help the roots out a little bit.


He certainly hopes that pays off, but right now, at least we’re perking up in the corn fields and it hasn’t looked like this for a number of weeks.