Heavy rain and a weekend snow that melted in hours has left more than 80 percent of area soils too wet to work just as the spring planting season is about to begin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Tuesday.

Heavy rain and a weekend snow that melted in hours has left more than 80 percent of area soils too wet to work just as the spring planting season is about to begin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today.


More rain is also in the forecast.


“It puts a stop to all field work. Even just driving the equipment over the field will compact the soil and that would reduce yields. People are just staying out of the fields. Right now, they’d get stuck,” said Mark Schleusener, deputy director of the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service in Springfield.


The state averaged 4.08 inches of rain for March, or 1.14 inches above normal, according to the report.


Half of the state’s fields were rated as saturated. Central Illinois was the wettest region of the state with 84 percent of fields considered too wet. Schleusener said while farmers were able to begin preparing fields the last few weeks, there has been very little, if any, corn and soybean planting.


“I don’t think you’re going to see anybody doing anything until at least next week,” he said.


The National Weather Service is forecasting more rain Wednesday and Thursday, and again this weekend.


Tim Landis can be reached at (217) 788-1536 or tim.landis@sj-r.com.