Highland News Leader

Corn yields called average, soybeans better than expected

Jake Frey of rural Pocahontas unloads on the go into a grain cart driven by Billy Dunnigan as he continues to shell corn Friday.
Jake Frey of rural Pocahontas unloads on the go into a grain cart driven by Billy Dunnigan as he continues to shell corn Friday. News Leader

Area farmers are experiencing “average” corn yields this fall.

Bob Luitjohan, president of Oberbeck Grain Co. in Highland, said while some farmers reported producing more than 200 per acre this harvest, most yields are running about 165 to 170 bushels per acre.

“The corn yields are actually better than I thought they would be,” he said. “I was anticipating, with the heavy rains earlier this spring, it would have led to smaller crop yields this fall.”

Overall, Illinois corn yields are at 171.64 bushels an acre, down from the 200 bushels an acre produced last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projection, however, is above the state’s three-year average of 163.01 corn bushels an acre.

According to statistics compiled by Darin Grotefendt, a crop insurance specialist with Farm Credit in Illinois, Madison County farmers on average produced 130.625 bushels of corn per acre from 2006-13.

Last fall, local farmers experienced a bumper corn crop, with some farmers producing between 220-250 bushels of corn per acre, Luitjohan said.

Darrel Good, a University of Illinois agricultural economist, said there is some question whether the projections will change enough this fall to result in higher prices than currently forecast and reflected in the futures market.

“Prospects for year-ending stocks to be smaller than the current projection of 1.713 billion bushels could come from a smaller production forecast or from a larger consumption forecast,” Good said.

Last year, Madison County farmers planted 107,800 acres of corn and 111,800 acres of soybeans.

This year’s acreage totals were not available on Monday. But Grotefendt said he didn’t expect a significant change for last year’s numbers.

Soybean yields up

The area’s soybean crop was going better than Luitjohan anticipated.

“The first crop soybean yield was running between 60 to 70 bushels per acre,” he said on Friday.

But Luitjohan expected double crop soybean production will likely be considerably less, because of the June rains. This was the wettest June since the National Weather Service began keeping such records in the late 1800s.

Illinois, however, still led the nation in soybeans planted with 10.1 million acres in the ground, 300,000 more than last year, according to the USDA.

It was second in corn acres with 11.8 million, 100,000 less than last year.

The USDA earlier boosted estimates for domestic output of soybeans this fall, which initially drove soybean prices lower.

The USDA pegged the harvest at 3.935 billion bushels on yields of 47.1 bushels an acre, surpassing analysts’ estimates for 3.838-billion-bushel production on yields of 46 bushels an acre.

Futures running mixed

Grain futures were running mixed Monday morning.

Corn for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, the price was running at $3.7520 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, while November soybeans were at $8.94 a bushel.

Locally, corn prices were running slightly lower at $3.66 a bushel at Oberbeck’s Highland location, and $3.86 at its New Douglas facility.

Soybeans were running $8.74 a bushel at both of Oberbeck’s locations on Monday morning.

Luitjohan said he expects the corn and soybean prices will remain pretty consistent for the next two weeks or so.