Illinois farmers will be cutting back on corn this year. Farmers planted 12.8 million acres of corn in Illinois last year. The USDA reported Thursday that they expect to plant 12.2 million acres this year, a 5 percent drop. Rod Weinzierl, head of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says last year’s poor corn crop, harmed by drought, has some farmers planting wheat instead.
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“Because the crops were so poor in Illinois, a lot of farmers want to help their cash flow, and wheat is a crop that is harvested typically in mid- to late June or early July, so that brings cash into the operation a little bit faster than a fall crop would,” he said.
Also, particularly in Southern Illinois, there is nitrogen fertilizer still available in those fields, so farmers are planting wheat to take advantage of that, Weinzierl says. Wheat acreage in Illinois will rise from 600,000 last year to 830,000 this year, a 26 percent increase. Soybean acreage will be up 4 percent, rising from 9.05 million acres to 9.4 million.
Nationally, corn acreage will be up slightly to 97.3 million acres this year. If that ends up being planted, it’ll be the most since 1936. Soybeans will down slightly to 77.1 million acres.