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View from the Cab: All about the beans

By: Kent Casson

We had our share of weather challenges during 2020, but Illinois remains the top soybean producer.

The state produced more soybeans than any other state again. USDA estimates soybean farmers in Illinois raised over 600 million bushels on 10.25 million harvested acres with an average yield of 59 bushels per acre. This compares with 2019 production of 532.4 million bushels on 9.86 million harvested acres with an average yield of 54 bushels per acre.

“Even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, the economy and the weather, Illinois soybean farmers were able to do what they do best – show their ability to make the most of what the growing season throws at them,” stated Illinois Soybean Association Utilization Committee chairman David Wessel, who is also a soybean farmer from Chandlerville.

The solid production year is partly attributed to Illinois Soybean Association checkoff-funded research and farmer education. ISA provides in-season advice from crop specialists around the state through the website and other resources. New innovations and technology help farmers boost profitability and improve return-on-investment sustainably.

Other information released by USDA last week included the Illinois corn planted area at 11.3 million acres, up 8 percent from 2019. Corn for grain was harvested on 11.1 million acres, up 9 percent from the previous year. Corn yield is estimated at 192 bushels per acre in the state, up 11 bushels from 2019. The winter wheat harvested area in 2020 is estimated at 520,000 acres, down 5 percent from the year before. Winter wheat yield is estimated at 68 bushels per acre, up a bushel from 2019. Production was estimated at 35.4 million bushels down 4 percent from the previous year.

Crop prices received a nice boost last week after USDA issued the January 12 report on final crop production numbers, updated demand information and a quarterly stocks update. The government actually dropped U.S. corn and soybean ending stocks which prompted the price climb for corn, soybeans and wheat before things eased back a bit later in the week.

The national corn stocks were 1.55 versus the trade estimate of 1.59 billion bushels. Soybean stocks were 140 million compared to the trade guess of 139 million bushels while wheat stocks were 836 million with the trade predicting 859 million. World carryout for corn was about even with the trade guess. Now we are all wondering where prices go from here as another planting season looms.


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