Highland News Leader

Corn yields are good, beans are a bin-buster

Bernard Martin, 78, fills a truck with soybeans on his farm in St. Jacob.
Bernard Martin, 78, fills a truck with soybeans on his farm in St. Jacob. amcdonald@bnd.com

Area farmers are taking in a crop that will outdo last year’s harvest.

“This year is a shade better than last year,” said Bernard Martin, a St. Jacob area farmer. “I don’t like to talk about numbers, but let’s just say (the yield) is a shade better than last year.”

This year’s corn harvest is on the upper end for yields over the past 10 years, but beans have been great, said Bob Luitjohan, manager of Oberbeck Grain Co., which has facilities in Highland and New Douglas.

“We didn’t break any records, but this year’s corn is definitely in the top third of our production,” Luitjohan said. “Beans are a record-setter this year.”

Right now, farmers are still cutting soybeans. Yields are 60-70 bushels per acre, Luitjohan said.

“Weather-wise, it’s been pretty cooperative. It’s been a good harvest and good yields,” Luitjohan said.

Only scattered corn acres remain to be shelled.

“It’s been very good so far and been going pretty quick. The weather has been treating us very well,” said Josh Tebbe, sales agronomist for Top Ag in Pierron. “We are able to keep going as far as corn is concerned, but beans have been trickier with dew in the morning, and the farmer’s haven’t been able to harvest until late morning.”

This year, corn yielded about 180-200 bushels per acre.

“We turned out to be better than average on corn. Some of the early corn struggled earlier this year,” Luitjohan said.

“We got pretty dry when the corn was trying to pollinate,” Tebbe said.

Farmers have late-summer rains to thank for their success this year.

“We got those rains on July 3 and throughout the rest of the summer. With the heat and the rain, we were drying out toward the end of June,” Luitjohan said. “The crops would have burned up and not produced much of anything, but the rains turned everything around, and we ended up with a better crop than we thought we would have.”

But the down side to a large supply is the price is usually depressed.

“Prices are down right now, and pennies are pretty tight. Commodity prices are pretty low, so farmers are watching their bottom line,” Tebbe said.

Corn is averaging around $3.25 per bushel, locally, while beans are $9.50.

Illinois’ Predicted Harvest

Corn: Planted area is estimated at 11.7 million acres, unchanged from last year. Harvested area, forecast at 11.5 million acres, is also unchanged from 2015. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, the Illinois corn yield is forecast at record 202 bushels per acre, up two bushels from September and up 27 bushels from 2015. Production is forecast at 2.32 billion bushels, up 1 percent from September and up 15 percent from last year’s production. If realized this would be the second highest production on record behind 2014.

Soybeans: Planted area is estimated at 10.1 million acres, up 3 percent from last year. Harvested area, forecast at 10.05 million acres, is up 3 percent from 2015. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, the Illinois soybean yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, a six bushel increase from 2015. If realized, this would be the highest yield on record for the state. Production is forecast at a record setting 623 million bushels, a 14 percent increase from last year.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture