Illinois farmers in the midst of harvest

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The harvest is underway in Illinois and early indications are it is going to be a good year.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Production report, Illinois farmers are expected to harvest 615 million bushels this fall, up 16 percent from last year. A wet spring in 2019 prevented farmers from getting seed into the ground at the usual time.

The Illinois Farm Bureau reports the stretch of dry weather this fall has allowed farmers to get out in the fields for harvest. It also improves grain quality and saves money because drying is not needed.

Steve Fourez, who owns a farm in Vermillion County, said he is pleased with 2020 yields.

“Beans are running about 70 bushel per acre, somewhere in that neighborhood, and corn 240 bushel,” Fourez said. “After last year, that’s really good.”

COVID-19 hurt crop prices earlier this summer, but prices have been on the rise. The price of beans has gone up $2 a bushel in the past 8 weeks, while the price of corn has increased about 80 cents a bushel during that same time.

“I have been very pleasantly surprised,” Fourez said. “Six to eight weeks ago I wouldn’t have thought we would have been anywhere near where we are as far as the corn and soybean market.”

Fourez said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected him in an indirect way.

“I’m a grain farmer, and if people aren’t going out to eat in restaurants to eat beef and pork like they had been, then there isn’t anything out there to eat the grain that I am raising,” he said.

About half of Illinois corn and soybeans acres have been harvested, with about three-quarters of that in either good or excellent condition.

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