Illinois tops in soy, second in corn

By DANIEL GRANT

FarmWeek

Illinois once again produced some of the largest crops of any state in the nation despite drought and other weather challenges last year, according to USDA’s crop production report released Jan. 12.

Prairie State farmers produced 648 million bushels of soybeans in 2023 – down from 2022 but the most of any state nationwide – and 2.27 billion bushels of corn – up slightly from the previous year and the second-most nationwide behind Iowa.

Statewide, yields averaged 206 bushels per acre for corn in 2023 – up three bushels from the November estimate but down eight bushels from the 2022 record – and 63 bushels for beans – up two bushels from November and even with last year.

The trend of higher-than-expected yields was also evident nationwide in the USDA’s annual crop summary.

U.S. corn production was pegged at 15.3 billion bushels last year with an average yield of 177.3 bushels per acre, both records. 

Soybean production totaled 4.16 billion bushels last year (down 2 percent from 2022) with an average yield of 50.6 bushels (up 1 percent from the previous year).

“It’s a bearish one this year, at least from the reaction so far,” Joe Camp of CommStock Investments said. “I think it was triggered first off by these higher yield estimates.”

USDA raised corn yield estimates from its previous report by nine bushels in Nebraska, four bushels in Minnesota and one bushel in Iowa, along with the boost in Illinois. 

Iowa finished with a final corn yield estimate of 203 bushels per acre while Indiana was right behind at 201 bushels.

“Those are big states that really add extra production,” Camp said. “It’s hard to reconcile after the year we had.

“No doubt this crop ended up better than we feared it was going to be,” he continued. “Still, to see states like Iowa be ahead of where they were a year ago is hard to put together.”

Futures prices for corn, soybeans and wheat all closed the week on a down note following the release of the report.

“It can be a relief this report is out of the way, with an outlook toward higher seasonal prices normally leading us into spring,” Camp said. “But there’s nothing really friendly to talk about on this crop report.”

As for crop inventory, USDA pegged stocks in all positions as of Dec. 1 at 12.2 billion bushels of corn (up 13 percent from the previous year), 3 billion bushels of beans (down 1 percent) and 1.41 billion bushels of wheat (up 8 percent).

USDA also released its winter wheat seedings report Jan. 12. It pegged all winter wheat plantings for the 2024 crop at 34.4 million acres, down 6 percent from the previous year.

Seedings of soft red winter wheat totaled 6.86 million acres, down 13 percent from 2023. But Illinois farmers bucked that trend and planted 860,000 acres of winter wheat last fall, up 2 percent from the previous year and up significantly from 650,000 acres in 2022, USDA reported.

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit FarmWeekNow.com.

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