2021 US Corn Belt Crop Tour



2021 Summary of the State of Illinois

Day 3, 13-15: July 1 & July 16-18, 2021

10th Annual US Corn Belt Crop Tour Summary of the State of Illinois

The 2021 10th Annual U.S. Corn Belt Crop tour in the state of Illinois began on Day 3, July 1. We visited the northern part of the state on days 13-15, July 16-18, 2021. Day 3 was 84 and wet, while days 13-15 were sunny and partly cloudy and a high of 25-28 Celsius. On day 3, we travelled from Evansville, IN north to Decatur on highway 130 N to highway 45 to 121, then south on 51 to Stonington before heading west into MO on highway 72. On day 13, we travelled from Freeport to Lanark to Chana then to Sterling, Illinois. Day 14, from Roseville to Mammoth to Dahinda, and on day 15 from Saint Augustine Heyworth, Longview west to Sidell. The state was wet on July 1 and remained wet when travelling through northern Illinois on July 16-18, 2021. After 10 years of touring we have never seen this much extreme moisture stress!

NOAA – State of Illinois - 90-Day Precip Departure from Normal as of July 29, 2021

State of Illinois 90 Day precipitation map

State of Illinois Drought Classification Maps

Thank you to Dr. Fred Below, and team members Eric Winans and Stephen Schwartz, for taking some valuable time out of their day to look at some research plots at the University of Illinois. Adding nitrogen to soybeans at planting, 2 by 2, seems to be seeing some response in taller more canopied soybean plants sooner with a 6-7 bu/acre advantage vs. without. In their “Quest for 500” fertigated plots high yield input system is looking good and trying to break the old record at 429 bpa.

Thank you to Steve and Jack Curtin for inviting us on their farm in Stonington, Illinois and I cannot forget my new dog friend Chloe. Early planted crops with plenty of moisture will have above average yields.

Thank you to Chris Fink, Dan Leupkes @XtremeAgFarmimg and Ed Thompson for taking some valuable time to visit with us and providing their insights. Dan always has the best crops, nutrient/fertility program off the charts! Thanks Dan I always learn something every year!

Northern, IL east to west is very wet. In fact extremely wet, with yellow wet feet soybeans and lodging corn. Top end of yields is gone, no records here anymore. An average crop at best!

When comparing 2021 to 2020 in the state of Illinois, two words best describe the difference: less moisture! Will rain make grain or will extreme moisture reduce yields? Too many bad days during and after planting, wet, cold weather and frost led to emergence issues. Now that the crops are grown, they are masking these earlier problems. Only the combine will know if there was damage done to crops.

The record corn yield was 210 in 2018 vs. 192 last year and for soybeans the record was also in 2018 at 65 vs. 2020 at 59. Crop conditions for corn good-excellent 68%, poor-very poor at 8% while soybeans at 64% and 9% respectively. Topsoil moisture adequate to surplus at 85% as of 07-26-21 while subsoil moisture at 84%.

We rank the state a 7.5 out of 10 with an average crop. More heat and sunshine is needed, not moisture.

South Central Illinois Image Collage

Northern Illinois Image Collage

Thank You to our proud prize sponsors Azotic North America and Empire Weather.

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About Illinois
Number of farms
380 acres
Average size of an Illinois farm
27,000,000 acres
Land in Illinois farms
Miles a train of box cars stretches, when filled with Illinois' yearly corn output (from Illinois to Hong Kong)
Illinois leads the US in the production of pumpkins and horseradish
Number of people each Illinois farmer feeds
10,900,000 acres
Corn acres intended in 2021, -4% vs 2020

192 bu/acre
Corn yield in 2020, +11.0 bu/acre vs. 2019
10,700,000 acres
Soybean acres intended in 2021, +4% vs 2020

59 bu/acre
Soybean yield in 2020, +5.0 bu/acre vs. 2019
700,000 acres
Wheat acres intended in 2021, +23% vs 2020

74 bu/acre 
Wheat yield in 2021, +6.0 bu/acre vs. 2020


2021 US Corn Belt Tour
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