The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its 2013 crop forecasts Monday, indicating that despite late planting, yields should be better than in recent years.
The agency forecast 13.8 billion bushels of corn, which would be a U.S. record, and 3.26 billion bushels of soybeans, which would be the third largest on record.
Corn production could be up 28 percent from 2012, the USDA said, and soybean production could be up 8 percent.
But local farmers aren’t sure whether their yields will reach record numbers as predicted.
Don Temple, 61, who farms 500 acres of field corn and 150 acres of soybeans in the western part of Whiteside County, said slightly late planting shouldn’t negatively impact his crop.
“It looks good in our area,” he said. “I never try to guess until I get in the field and run the combine, but it does look good.”
Low yields in the past few harvests have increased the price of corn in the market, Temple said. Those prices are expected to drop this year as predictions of record yield continue.
Ed Habben, 52, farms 1,500 acres northwest of Sterling. He estimates 10 percent of his crops are soybeans, with the remaining 90 percent being commercial corn. He said although the appearance of the crops right now is good, it can fool people into predicting more than can be delivered.
“In my situation, I don’t think they’re record, by any means,” Habben said. “Good? Yes. But record? Probably not.”
Farmers are hoping for sunshine and rain on a weekly basis as the harvest gets closer. Both Temple and Habben said the area has been a little dry recently and could use some rain.
If the USDA’s forecasts are fulfilled, fields should average 154.4 bushels an acre of corn and average 42.6 bushels an acre of soybeans.
That average per acre yield of corn would be 31 bushels more than a year ago, the agency said in its report, and the average per acre of soybeans would be 3 bushels more than last year.