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.