It’s the soybean crop that’s helping farmers in Western Illinois, like Scott Cocquit, finish strong.
As Cocquit pops open a few soybean pods in his harvest-ready fields, he’s in amazement.
"It really turned out better than I anticipated," Cocquit said.
He’s impressed for many reasons, but mainly because despite the summer’s extreme heat and dry weather, the soybean size is still good and the yields are turning out even better.
"I think after it cooled off too," he said. "It’s almost like they went dormant. We got some cooler weather and the rains; I think it got them going again."
Those rains came in late August. By the looks of the crop, it doesn’t seem like many of Cocquit’s field are ready to harvest, but the beans are dry and yields are good.
"The longer season beans have held their leaves, and there are a lot of green stems," he said.
While this is causing Cocquit to run the combine slower than normal through the soybean field, he doesn’t mind since yields are better than he expected.
"The beans have been anywhere from the low end of 40 to the high end of 70 (bushels per acre), Cocquit said. "It’s kind of been all over."
He says soybean yields are only off by about 10 percent from average. The corn crop is a different story. Average yields are typically anywhere from 185 to 200 bushels per acre on his farm. This year, many fields aren’t hitting close to that.
"The corn, the worse we’ve had is like 55 (bushels per acre). The best we’ve had is about 180," Cocquit said.
This western Illinois farmer says he’s hoping for an average of 110 to 120 bushels per acre. Even though yields are off, it’s not all bad news in his corn fields.
"The test weight is extremely good. That’s the surprising part," Cocquit said. "There’s a lot of 60 to 63 pound test weight on the corn."
It’s a year full of records for Cocquit. After the summers’ heat and drought left its mark on the record books, he says he’ll be finished with harvest earlier than he ever has. And that’s a record he doesn’t mind holding.
"It’s nice to get done and get this year behind us and move on," he said.
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