Crop Tour Day 3: Illinois Corn and Soybeans Yields Take a Nosedive

08:00PM Aug 21, 2019
As Pro Farmer Crop Tour scouts descended on Illinois corn and soybean yields were shocking—and not in a positive way.
( Pro Farmer Scouts )

As Pro Farmer Crop Scouts made their way through Illinois it was a sorry sight. The state that normally boasts bin-busting crops is falling short—and by a substantial margin.

Compared to last year’s Pro Farmer estimates, Illinois corn fell 21.46 bu. per acre—or 11%—below 2018. Soybeans didn’t fare much better at 331.23 pods fewer per 3x3 square—or about 25%—under last year’s estimate. Both came in below the Pro Farmer three-year average estimates.

Illinois corn yields waned to 171.17 bu. per acre and soybean pods per 3x3 deteriorated to just 997.68.

“The Illinois crop was sub-par,” says Brian Grete, lead of the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. “It just wasn’t there. Too much variability in the crop within fields and field to field. It’s hard to build much yield with variability. The eastern side of the state is worse than the western side of the state.”

The northwest part of the state, north of I-80, really struggled to get planted this year and scouts say that was evident in their samples. While the crops might look good from the field, they were full of skips and plants without ears—byproducts of planting in less-than-ideal conditions, Grete adds.


“[Corn] bushels break down to 11.1% lower than last year on tour,” Grete says. “There’s some really poor areas out there, it’s all over the board.”

Now the big question for corn is will it realize the full yield potential—or will it lose even more? In the earlier planted acres, Grete is confident, it’s the later planted acres that are the big question.

In terms of soybeans, Illinois is just the third in a line of disappointing yields on the east side of the crop tour. All three sampled so far, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, haven’t broken more than 1,000 pods per 3x3 square.


Tour scouts took 399 samples between the two crops to calculate their estimates.

  • Corn
    • District 1: 38 samples
      • Yield 169.44
    • District 2: 8 samples
      • Yield 185.36
    • District 3: 25 samples
      • Yield 170.06
    • District 4: 51 samples
      • Yield 177.13
    • District 5: 52 samples
      • Yield 164.75
    • District 6: 15 samples
      • Yield 169.80
    • District 7: 11 samples
      • Yield 173.97
  • Soybeans
    • District 1: 38 samples
      • Pods 923.32
    • District 2: 8 samples
      • Pods 851.67
    • District 3: 23 samples
      • Pods 1,028.89
    • District 4: 51 samples
      • Pods 1,010.13
    • District 5: 53 samples
      • Pods 988.03
    • District 6: 15 samples
      • Pods 1,085.72
    • District 7: 11 samples
      • Pods 1,164.31

Preliminary Iowa corn yields are similar to 2018, while soybean pods per 3x3 square fall just short of last year’s Pro Farmer estimates. Today’s calculations come from three districts, be sure to check back in tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. central time for the state’s final results.

  • Corn
    • District 1: 66 samples
      • Yield 184.88
    • District 4: 63 samples
      • Yield 192.71
    • District 7: 35 samples
      • Yield 186.28
  • Soybeans
    • District 1: 65 samples
      • Pods 1,095.93
    • District 4: 62 samples
      • Pods 1,196.06
    • District 7: 35 samples
      • Pods 1,221.13

Find complete Crop Tour route reports, market analysis and historical comparisons at

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