USDA updates crop yield numbers, farmers preparing for next year
American farmers raised 4 percent less corn in 2015 than the record crop of 2014, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s November crop report. Total US corn production is estimated at 13.7 billion bushels. Soybeans however, are now forecast to set a new record at 3.98 billion bushels, a 1 percent increase from the preceding year. Both crop estimates were higher than the previous USDA report, though it wasn’t necessarily good news for farmers. The higher than expected yields sent corn and soybean prices tumbling lower.
The 2015 harvest is now almost entirely complete. With soil temperatures dropping, farmers are shifting their attention toward fall tillage and fertilizer application. Typically they will wait until soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees to apply nitrogen fertilizer, because cooler soils will retain the fertilizer better.
Farmers have welcomed recent rain, which helped end near-drought conditions in several areas of the state. According to the USDA, topsoil is now rated at 69 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus, with subsoil moisture at 61 percent and 4 percent respectively. Soil temperatures are ranging from 48.8 degrees in southern Illinois to 38.8 degrees in the northern part of the state.