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Illinois’ harvest good, not great, analyst reports

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(The Center Square) – In spite of some hard freezes and snow, Illinois farmers are still hard at work bringing in the last 19% of the corn harvest and the last 10% of the soybean crop.

Thanks to good weather, Mark Schleusener, a statistician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Springfield, said that the 2023 harvest is ahead of schedule.

“We’ve had generally quite good harvest weather. No significant delays,” Schleusener said. “Harvest has proceeded ahead of normal pace in Illinois.”

Farmers, particularly those in the northern part of the state, are still bringing in this year’s crops.

Schleusener reminds motorists to take it easy on the roadways. There is still a lot of heavy equipment out on the roads. Motorists should slow down and expect delays, he said.

The USDA’s October forecast puts the Illinois 2023 harvest yields below those of 2022.

“We’re forecasting corn at 200 bushels per acre and soybeans at 61. Those are good numbers, not great numbers,” he said. No one is complaining.

In spite of the drought in June when the young plants were developing, Illinois got lucky with “a lot of smaller rains that seemed to help at just the right times,” Schleusener said.

In early August, everybody got a good rain in a key time period.

“That rain helped the corn kernels get bigger. And it was definitely good for soybeans. The plants got bigger and rain spurred the soybean plants to make more pods,” he said.

Schleusener credits the August rain for the decent 2023 harvest. In contrast, the 2022 harvest was one for the record books.

“2022 was a good year to grow practically anything, anywhere in Illinois,” Schleusener said.

In 2022, Illinois had a record-high corn yield of 214 bushels per acre. Soybeans came in at 63 bushels an acre, compared to the 61 bushels that USDA has forecast for 2023.

“Not great. But good,” Schleusener said.

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