While the recent swings in temperatures may make us a little uncomfortable - they are quite beneficial to the soil.
Mike Toohill, Illinois-based staff agronomist for Diversified Services says the swings between 40 degrees and 20 degrees are helping to build the structure of the soil.
"The soil freezes and thaws, freezes and thaws, and freezes and thaws [especially in areas where we've had pretty good moisture] and is actually in pretty good shape," he says. "In fact, my boss calls them "sugar bowl" soils.
So what's the advantage to those "sugar bowl" soils?
Toohill says, "With the soil being so loose and granular, as long as we don't mess it up prior to spring (getting a big rain on top of it or working the soils wet) it creates a very nice rooting environment and also a very nice environment for tilling our soils."
He tells Brownfield having slightly dryer conditions at planting allows the corn crop to establish deep roots. Which is how 2012 started; but then, Toohill says, we simply ran out of water.