BLOOMINGTON – Illinois continues to top the nation in soybean production, according to USDA estimates. With good growing conditions and an emphasis on efficient management, Illinois has claimed the title four of the last five growing seasons.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service annual crop production report estimates that Illinois farmers raised 611.9 million bushels of soybeans in 2017 on 10.5 million harvested acres with an average yield of 58 bushels per acre.
Illinois led the nation in all three categories. Iowa ranked second in production with 561.6 million bushels raised on 9.9 million acres with an average yield of 56.5 bushels per acre. In 2017, there were more soybean acres harvested nationwide than corn acres.
“2017 was another good year for soybean production. Our farmers continue to raise the bar on achieving maximum yield without sacrificing profitability,” says Lynn Rohrscheib, soybean farmer from Fairmount, Ill., and ISA chairwoman. “We are excited to be the top soybean-producing state again, and Illinois’ 43,000 soybean farmers look forward to using best practices in the upcoming growing season.”
ISA Production and Outreach Committee Chairwoman Jenny Mennenga and soybean farmer from LeRoy, Ill., believes that the organization’s focus on farmer education, including new practices and industry innovations, allows for farmers to maximize their yield potential and minimize cost.
“Each year, we better utilize checkoff funds to invest in key farmer profitability initiatives like intensive local learning sessions and the ILSoyAdvisor.com resource,” says Mennenga. “This contributes to the success of our growers and challenges us to continue to seek these opportunities that allow us to reach top yields.”
Another large contributing factor to Illinois’ soy success is the value placed on getting Illinois soybeans efficiently from farmer to customer.
“There are unique logistical challenges that exist in getting our product to market, including by rail, road and waterway. It’s a key priority of the organization to make sure we are leading the way in serving our customers efficiently, knowing that any gains we can make in transportation translate to generating more demand for our product,” says Austin Rincker, soybean farmer from Moweaqua, Ill., and ISA Marketing Committee chairman.
ISA CEO Craig Ratajczyk echoes this sentiment and says, “Supply is important to our industry, but utilization and demand are equally as important. Maintaining our top soybean production status is about understanding the entire value chain and creating new market opportunities where we can. Illinois soybean production adds billions of dollars to the Illinois and U.S. economy, and provides for hundreds of thousands of jobs in this state. The entire global value chain, which Illinois soybean production is a member of, adds substantially more financial and marketplace value. We will continue to cultivate our relationships with customers and key stakeholders around the world to make sure that Illinois soybean farmers are recognized for their substantial contributions in maintaining a high-quality, sustainable and competitive global soy supply. If Illinois was a country, it would rank as the fourth largest soybean producing country in the world, after the United States, Brazil and Argentina.”
Illinois farmers are well on their way to ISA’s goal is to utilize 600 million bushels of soybeans by the year 2020. .
The Illinois Soybean Association checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.