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USDA increases already record corn forecast

Illinois thought to be leader in soybean yields

The 2013 harvest forecast continues to increase, predicting the best corn yield in U.S. history and the third best soybean crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released its November crop production report Friday, increased its corn forecast by 1 percent from September, to 13.99 billion bushels, which would be 30 percent higher than the 2012 yield.

The U.S. soybean yield was predicted to be 3.26 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the September report and 7 percent from the 2012 yield.

Because of the partial federal government shutdown last month, no October crop production report was released.

From the September to November reports, the per-acre forecast for Illinois corn increased from 165 bushels to 180, which Emerson Nafzinger, a professor of crop science at the University of Illinois, said might be one of the biggest increases ever.

The increase for soybeans, from 46 bushels to 49, might be more surprising, he said.

According to the USDA’s November report, Illinois is expected to have the nation’s second highest corn yield, 2.11 billion bushels, trailing only Iowa’s 2.21 billion forecast. But Illinois is projected to lead Iowa in soybean production, the USDA said, 461 million bushels to 415 million.

Doug Kuehl, who farms northwest of Morrison, has finished harvesting his 500 acres.

“The corn crop was good,” he said. “I probably averaged a little more than 200 bushels an acre, overall. The bean crop was a little disappointing. That was probably about 58 bushels [an acre].”

Kuehl said the crops in the area look better than what farmers had expected in August.

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