I-80 Harvest Tour: Illinois Sees High Yields, Great Harvest Weather

11:50AM Oct 19, 2018
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Farmers in Illinois are optimistic as they near the finish line for harvest. Good weather and better yields keep spirits high as farmers trudge forward in the combines.

“We’ve been very fortunate that the weather has been so good for us,” said Paul Jeschke, Mazon, Ill. farmer to AgDay National Reporter Betsy Jibben. Illinois farmers have harvested 71% of corn, 17 percentage points greater than the state’s five-year average.

That very day, however, combines stopped as nearly 3” of rain, and a small blanket of snow covered fields. However, it was nowhere near the devastation seen by states such as North Dakota.

Jeschke is willing to risk those and future weather conditions for the chance at higher profits. He plans to leave the last 15% of his corn acres standing to capture a potential 14% carry in two weeks.

USDA pegs Illinois average corn yield at 212 bu. per acre—the highest of any state in the crop production report. While yields are high, some farmers say they’re lower than what they saw last year.

“They’re below what we’ve become accustomed to, but we’ve become accustomed to some pretty big numbers here in the last few years,” said Scott Halpin who farms near Gardner, Ill. “I think most everyone is above APH in corn yields and we’re at least 10% [above].”

Halpin admits that while yields in his area might be record-breakers, farmers in other parts of the state are seeing record-breaking yield. In soybeans, USDA puts Illinois at a 66 bu. per acre average, and Halpin said his yields have been about normal to just a “tick” above the high yields to which they’ve become accustomed.

Illinois farmers rushed ahead on corn harvest, leaving soybeans for last in an uncommon move. Because of that, these farmers say there are a lot of soybeans left to harvest. This week’s Crop Progress Report shows Illinois farmers are only one percentage point behind last year’s harvest at 60% complete. This is still five percentage points above the five-year average.

I80 Harvest Tour Illinois 101718