MONTICELLO — Topflight Grain Cooperative General Manager Derrick Bruhn is typically cautious when predicting grain yields, but is having trouble hiding his excitement over this year’s crop in Piatt County.
“I think it’s going to be darned good. It has the potential to be a new record for us, which is exciting,” Bruhn said after Topflight’s recent crop tour. The outing focuses on areas where Topflight has grain storage facilities, including Piatt, Logan, Macon, Moultrie, Douglas and Champaign Counties.
“We saw really good populations,” Bruhn said, referring to the number of corn plants per acre. “When you see good populations, that’s the start of a good crop.”
Topflight is estimating yields of around 235 bushels per acre in Piatt County. If it is slightly better it could approach the county record of 241.8 bpa set in 2018.
DeLand-area farmer Jim Reed agrees this year’s crop looks very good. He attended corn-cutting at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, and reported yields are higher than expected.
“If the Farm Progress is any indication, we should have a good crop,” Reed said. “I’m not sure if it will be a record — there was some hail damage — but if it keeps trending like this we could have one of the best crops ever.”
Piatt County’s average corn yield last year was 211.7 bushels per are, 70.5 bpa for soybeans.
Various factors have contributed the potential of a bumper crop this fall: Enough moisture, and good heat when critical for plant growth.
With corn prices rising significantly over the past year, farmers also spent more on fungicide this year.
“Plant health looked amazing. A lot of producers this year put fungicide on, which is an added expense, but it did keep the plants healthier longer, and when we were out there it looked really good,” Bruhn added.
Soybeans are not as far along so more difficult to predict, but Bruhn said they also look to be well above average, possibly approaching the 2018 county record of 73.2 bushels per acre.
There was concern that flooding in June could affect both corn and soybean crops, but many plants were far enough along to weather it.
“The growth was tall enough that, if it kept its head above the water and the water got away pretty quick, it seemed like things went pretty decent,” Bruhn said.
Of the 14 Topflight locations, the ones with the highest estimated yields during the crop tour were Seymour, Monticello, Milmine and Monticello, although the estimates were determined through small sample sizes.
The United States Department of Agriculture is predicting Illinois farmers will average 214 bushels per acre on corn this year, 64 bushels per acre for soybeans.