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updated: 10/2/2017 3:20 PM

Illinois pumpkin crops make healthy return after shortage

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MORTON, Ill. -- Agriculture experts say pumpkin crops in central Illinois are still recovering, but improving two years after heavy rain decimated area yields.

Jim Ackerman is an agriculture manager at the Nestle-owned Libby's plant in Morton. He says the 2017 crop of pumpkins have improved from last year and are looking a little better than average. Ackerman says he now relies on remote weather sensors and technology throughout the plant to determine when to sow and crop the harvest.

The pumpkin harvest will continue until the first hard freeze.

Pumpkin vines were drowned by heavy rains in June 2015 during a critical stage of development that led to a widespread pumpkin shortage.

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