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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Average Illinois corn and soybean yields between 1982 and 2012; yellow dots - corn yields, orange dots - soybean yields (Source: Dr. Emerson Nafziger).

How did 2012 yields compare with state yield trends?

Posted by Angie Peltier -

One way to gauge the severity of the 2012 drought is to look at how the 2012 corn and soybean yields varied from the 30-year trend. Dr. Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Agronomist, recently summarized this data.

There has been an overall positive trend in Illinois corn and soybean yields over the past 30 years. This is due to a variety of factors: increased yield potential of modern corn hybrids and soybean varieties, genetic modification that has resulted in herbicide resistance and insecticide traits (for better weed and insect control, respectively), increases in genetic resistance to plant pathogens, integrated pest management, better agronomic practices, etc., etc., etc.

On average, corn yields have increased by approximately 1.8 bushels per acre per year. According to the overall 30-year yield trend, the 2012 Illinois corn yield average was predicted to be 172 bushels per acre. However, the wide-spread, prolonged drought conditions resulted in the statewide yield average to be approximately 39 percent below this trend or 105 bushels per acre (Figure - yellow data points).

On average, soybean yields increase by 0.4 bushels per acre per year over the past 30 years. Rains later in the season throughout portions of the state were too late to be of much help to corn, but allowed some of the soybean crop to rebound. In 2012, Illinois average soybean yields were 43 bushels per acre - 5 bushels per acre or 10 percent below the trend (Figure - orange data points).

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