October 19, 2021

USDA sticks with record yield projections

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintained its record statewide average corn and soybean yield forecasts for Illinois and Indiana in its second survey-based data set of the growing season.

Objective yield and farm operator surveys were conducted between Aug. 25 and Sept. 7 to gather information on expected yields as of Sept. 1.

‘I’ State Corn

Illinois’ average corn yield projection was unchanged from last month at a record 214 bushels per acre, 22 bushels higher than last year and 4 bushels above the 2018 record.

The harvested area was lowered from 11 million acres in August’s forecast to 10.8 million this month and total production was projected at just over 2.311 billion bushels, 20 million below 2020.

USDA increased the statewide average corn yield in Indiana by 3 bushels from last month to a record 197 bushels per acre, 10 bushels above 2020. The previous record of 189 was set in 2018.

Total production is forecast at just over 1.034 billion bushels harvested from 5.25 million acres compared to 981.75 million bushels produced in 2020 on the same number of acres.

A 5 bushel per acre month-over-month increase was pegged for Iowa, pushing the state average in this report to 198 bushels per acre, up 20 bushels from last year.

The 12.45 million harvested acres is forecast to produce about 2.456 billion bushels of corn. The area harvested for grain is 200,000 acres lower than the August forecast.

‘I’ State Soybeans

The Illinois average soybean yield is forecast was unchanged from the August estimate at a record 64 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from 2020 and one-half bushel above the previous record set in 2018.

Harvested area is forecast at 10.55 million acres, compared to 10.25 million in 2020. Total production is estimated at a record 675.2 million bushels, up 12% from last year.

Indiana’s projected average yield was unchanged from last month to a record 60 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the record high in 2020. Total production is forecast at 341.4 million bushels, up 4% from last year, on harvested area of 5.69 million acres, 10,000 higher than in 2020.

USDA raised Iowa’s average soybean yield estimate by a bushel from last month to 59 bushels per acre, 6 bushels higher than 2020. Harvested area of 10 million acres is projected to produce 591 million bushels of soybeans after producing 493.96 million in 2020.


U.S. corn production for grain is forecast at 15 billion bushels, up 2% from the last month’s forecast and 6% above 2020.

Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, corn yields are expected to average 176.3 bushels per harvested acre, 1.7 bushels higher than the August forecast and up 4.3 bushels from last year. If realized, this would be the third highest yield on record in the United States.

Total corn planted area, at 93.3 million acres, is 1% above the previous estimate and up 3% from the previous year. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 85.1 million acres, a 1% increase over the August forecast and 3% higher than 2020.

Record corn high yields are also forecast in California, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

The nation’s soybean production is forecast at 4.37 billion bushels, up 1% from the previous forecast and 6% higher than 2020.

Nationwide soybean yields are expected to average 50.6 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast and 0.4 bushel above last year. This would be the second highest soybean yield in record in the United States.

The total planted area of 87.2 million acres is down less than 1% from the previous estimate, but up 5% from 2020. Area harvested for beans in the United States is forecast at 86.4 million acres, down less than 1% from the previous forecast and 5% higher than in 2020.

Other states where record high soybean yields are forecast are Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Statistical Methodology

The farm operator survey was conducted primarily by telephone with some use of mail, internet and personal interviews. Approximately 8,000 producers were interviewed during the survey period and asked questions about probable yield. These growers will continue to be surveyed throughout the growing season to provide indications of average yields.

The objective yield surveys for corn and soybeans were conducted in the major producing states that usually account for 75% of the U.S. production.

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor