Agriculture Update: Illinois corn, bean harvest in full swing across Downstate

The “Crop Progress and Condition” report, posted weekly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), shows that Illinois corn and beans are moving from field to bin. For the week ending Sunday, October 8, 42% of Illinois’ corn crop had been harvested. This represented a pace ahead of the five-year corn average for this date of 39%, and the 2022 corn average for this date of 25%. Corn condition was rated 58% good-to-excellent, with many fields in various parts of Illinois affected by short rainfall and the partial drought conditions of the 2023 growing season.

For soybeans, the harvest numbers as of October 8 were 44% out of the fields, with bean conditions rated 58% good-to-excellent. As with corn, 42% of the fields were rated as “fair,” “poor,” or “very poor” by observers. The USDA works with Illinois farmers to collect crop reports from all of the major farming regions of the state, including regions stricken by drought and low topsoil moisture supply. Dry weather in many parts of Illinois is allowing harvesting activities to continue. Wet weather in some sections is delaying the harvest.

In many sections of central and southern Illinois, farmers plant winter wheat. This crop emerges into green shoots before the first frost, with the plants then hibernating until their time for further growth and harvest maturity in spring 2024. Farmers report planting 30% of their winter wheat crop so far, which is in advance of the 24% usually planted at this time.