New corn and soybean records are projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ideal growing conditions through much of the Corn Belt have set the stage for high yield averages. These corn and soybean fields are located near Loretta, Ill.
New corn and soybean records are projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ideal growing conditions through much of the Corn Belt have set the stage for high yield averages. These corn and soybean fields are located near Loretta, Ill.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts corn and soybean yield records will be shattered this fall.

Corn production is forecast at 14 billion bushels, up 1 percent from 2013.

Yields are expected to average 167.4 bushels per acre, up 8.6 bushels from 2013. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the U.S.

Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.8 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast, but down 4 percent from 2013.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 3.82 billion bushels, up 16 percent from last year.

Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record high 45.4 bushels per acre, up 2.1 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the U.S. is forecast at a record 84.1 million acres, unchanged from June but up 11 percent from last year.

If realized, the forecasted soybean yield will be a record high in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.40 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the July 1 forecast, but down 9 percent from 2013.

The U.S. yield is forecast at 43.1 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushel from last month, but down 4.3 bushels from last year.

The area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 32.4 million acres, unchanged from last month’s projection but up slightly from last year.

The average Illinois corn yield is estimated at 188 bushels per acre, surpassing the previous record of 180 set in 2004, and 10 above last year.

Corn planted area of 12 million acres matches last year’s total, and harvested area remains at 11.8 million acres.

Total corn production in Illinois is forecast at 2.22 billion bushels, second to Iowa, and 6 percent above last year. This would represent the second highest production level on record, behind only 2007 when 2.28 billion bushels were produced.

New Hoosier Record

Indiana corn yields were projected to average 179 bushels per acre, compared with the previous record of 177 last year.

Harvested acres in Indiana are estimated at 5.85 million, the same as last year, resulting in total production of more than 1.047 billion bushels.

Iowa corn yields are estimated to average 185 bushels per acre, three bushels above the previous record of 182 set in 2008 and 20 above 2013. The 13.2 million harvested acres are projected to produce a nation-leading 2.442 billion bushels.

Illinois Soybean Leader

The USDA projects Illinois soybean yields to average a record 54 bushels per acre, five bushels better than in 2013. The previous high mark of 51.5 bushels per acre was set in 2010.

Planted area, at 10.1 million acres, is up 7 percent from 2013. Harvested area, forecast at 10.05 million acres, is up 7 percent from the previous year.

Production is forecast at 543 million bushels, also a record high, if realized.

Indiana soybeans were expected to yield 51 bushels per acre, the same as last year, over 5.49 million acres, 300,000 more than in 2013. Indiana’s total soybean production is anticipated to reach nearly 280 million bushels.

The USDA estimates Iowa’s average soybean yield of 50 bushels per acre, six higher than last year. Iowa farmers planted 10.04 million acres of soybeans compared to 9.24 million last year.

Iowa soybean production is projected to reach 502 million bushels after raising 411.18 million a year ago.

Harvested area of Illinois winter wheat in 2014 totals 690,000 acres, down 17 percent from 2013. The winter wheat yield is forecast at 67 bushels per acre, unchanged from both the July 1 forecast and 2013.

Winter wheat production in Illinois is forecast at 46.2 million bushels, 17 percent below the previous year.

Indiana’s average winter wheat yield is projected at 73 bushels per acres, five higher than in 2013, over 360,000 acres. Total production is expected to be 26.28 million bushels, lower than the 32.12 million in 2013.

Yield Tour

Kevin Meiss, Soy Capital Ag Services assistant vice president and farm manager in Bloomington, is in the process of gathering data for the firm’s annual yield tour of McLean County.

The estimates will be released this week and Meiss likes what he sees in the fields.

“Of what I’m seeing out there, as a general rule, things are very good. In my opinion, we probably have one of the biggest corn crops coming that I’ve ever seen and I think that McLean County has ever seen,” Meiss said.

Soybean yields are a bit tougher to judge in mid-August.

“They do look good but at this point I just have a hard time telling what soybeans are going to yield when it’s all said and done,” Meiss said. “A lot of times the August rains and the amount of sunshine they get in August make a huge difference on how those beans turn out.”

He hasn’t seen any significant disease pressure in cornfields he’s walked in central Illinois that would throw a curve at yield projections.

“There has been a little bit of disease pressure that moved in later. It’s not anything that would be economical as far as treating it, but there is a little gray leaf spot and northern leaf blight. It’s minor from what I’ve seen,” he said. “In my opinion, we have plenty of foliage there to collect the sunlight and put it into the crop.”

Soybean diseases such as sudden death syndrome and white mold have turning up in some fields.

“But there’s not a whole lot we can do about those at this point, just hope they don’t get a lot worse. So a lot of sunshine on the soybeans without a lot of cold and moisture on the bean plant would be helpful,” Meiss said.