Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crop Dusters are Busy in East Central Illinois

I have seen the planes flying overhead everyday for the last couple of weeks. Farmers in my area are utilizing crop dusters in a big way this year, to capitalize on the potential increased corn yields.

Champaign News-Gazette:

HOMER – Kent Krukewitt looked at three years' worth of research and signed up early to have fungicide and insecticide sprayed on his valuable corn crop.

"Based on the research results, especially from last year, it looked like a paying proposition, so we ended up spraying all our corn on corn and also our white food-grade corn," Krukewitt said. "We've done some in the past, but not on the scale we're doing it this year."

Krukewitt wasn't alone in making that fairly costly decision. Yellow crop-dusting planes are flying all over East Central Illinois, mainly applying a popular fungicide called Headline, although many farmers ask applicators to mix in insecticides for good measure.

Krukewitt said he signed up early because he expected demand for the aircraft to be great.

"There were going to be several thousand acres sprayed in this area, so the prudent thing to do was to line up the aircraft," Krukewitt said.

Why apply all that fungicide when there's been little wet weather to promote fungus growth?

"Yield increases," Krukewitt said. "The results from last year, which was a wetter summer, show significant yield increases that paid for the application in almost every case. The worst-case scenario is you just get your money back. It's a good opportunity to add more bushels."

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