Big crop

There’s one thing for sure –Illinois farmers know how to grow corn and soybeans – and lots of them. Participants on the recently held Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour estimate Illinois farmers could harvest a record corn crop. 

The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is the third full week of August each year. The tour’s primary goal is to provide the industry with accurate late-season information about likely corn and soybean yields during the upcoming harvest season at the state and regional level. Scouts participating in the annual tour drive thousands of miles, collecting about 2,600 corn and soybean samples from the seven states that produce around 70 percent of U.S. corn and soybean production.

Scouts touring with Pro Farmer say Illinois’ corn yield averaged 196.9 bushels per acre compared to last year’s 170.5 bushels per acre and the long term average of 149.4 bushels per acre. That’s an increase from the 188 bushel yield forecast by the U. S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month.

When it comes to soybeans, Illinois’ average soybean pod count per square yard was estimated by the tour at 1,299 pods. That compares to last season’s 1,115 pods and the long term average of 1,085 pods per square yard.

Illinois isn’t alone in its anticipated record yields.

Participants on the western leg of the tour say western Iowa fields estimated corn yields between 177.5 to 180.9 bushels per acre, well ahead of last season’s 160.1 to 175.7 bushels per acre. 

Western Iowa’ s soybean pod count came in between 1,091 and 1,224 pods per square yard, also  well ahead of last season’s 802.9 to 1,101.5 pods per square yard.

Numbers from the Pro Farmer tour are consistent with what members of the Sangamon County Farm Bureau found on their recent survey.

The annual Sangamon County Farm Bureau corn yield survey braved winds and rain to get their data, but the results weren’t a major surprise. It’s going to be a big crop. After surveying 94 fields across the county, the tour participants found an average countywide yield of 211.5 bushels per acre.

That’s the highest yield recorded by Sangamon County Farm Bureau members since it began its yield survey in 2003. Ninety-four samples were taken throughout the county with an average of three samples per township. The lowest individual sample was 183.8 bushels per acre with the highest coming in at 268.7 bushels per acre.

Better clean out the bins to make room for the harvest, which could start in the next few weeks.

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About the author

Charlyn Fargo spent 27 years at the State Journal-Register covering agriculture, business and food. She currently is the Bureau Chief of County Fairs & Horse Racing with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She is also a Registered Dietitian and writes a weekly syndicated nutrition column for Creator’s News Service ( and is co-owner of Simply Fair, a fair trade boutique at 2357 W. Monroe in Springfield. She has bachelor’s degrees in agricultural communications and food from the University of Illinois, Champaign and a master’s degree in nutrition from Eastern Illinois University. She and her husband, Brad Ware, have a daughter, Kate, and son, Jayden. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys baking cookies for Simply From Scratch, a company she formed to support faith-based ministries.

View all articles by Charlyn Fargo

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