The majority of corn and soybean crops in the state and in the Sauk Valley have been harvested, and the results have been good.
On Nov. 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service will release a crop production report, which will include yield forecasts, but state and local experts say the harvest has been better than expected.
Gunnar Ortgiesen, CFO and general manager of Tettens Grain LLC in Sterling, said farmers have been pleasantly surprised by their corn yields, which he estimated at 180 to 220 bushels an acre in this area.
“For beans, [yields are] a little better than expected a few months back,” he said. “I’d still put it in the 50- to 60-an-acre [range], some hitting 65.”
Many of the private, national corn yield estimates have been 162 bushels an acre, Ortgiesen said.
Corn yields across the state have been high, said Emerson Nafziger, a professor of crop sciences at the Univerity of Illinois. The univerity has collected yield data from 12 fields across the state, including in Erie, Mount Morris and DeKalb, and has seen yields of more than 200 and some as high as 290.
While he hasn’t seen the university’s soybean data yet, Nafziger said he’s heard yields have been better than expected, which is positive considering the late planting and hot, dry conditions experienced in August and September.
Putting that dry weather into perspective, he said it probably contributed to only a “small amount of stress.”
“The soybean story is very similar to the corn story,” Nafziger said. “In some ways, even more surprising than the corn story. ... What I have seen is pretty encouraging, just in the fact that I thought we’d be lucky to have 35 to 40 [bushels] an acre.”
According to the USDA’s weekly crop progress report, 74 percent of Illinois corn and 85 percent of Illinois soybeans have been harvested. In the northwest part of the state, which includes the Sauk Valley, 66 percent of corn and 93 percent of soybeans have been harvested.
Most area farmers have 1 to 2 weeks of harvesting left, Ortgiesen said.
The Nov. 8 crop production report will give an indication about whether yields remain on pace for record highs, which have been estimated by the USDA.
While high yields are good, it means farmers will get paid less for each bushel, as prices fall on the commodity markets.
“I would say they’re happy with corn yield, not very happy with the price,” Ortgiesen said. “I think everyone has been pretty happy with the harvest here.”