Winter Wheat the Focus for Many Illinois Farmers


Published on November 2 2018 10:36 am
Last Updated on November 2 2018 10:38 am


A boost in wheat acres appears to have worked out well for many Illinois farmers this year, particularly those who followed it with double-crop soybeans.

Illinois farmers produced an average wheat yield of 66 bushels per acre this year with reports of double-crop beans yielding in the mid-to-upper 50s.

That success, along with some planting windows in the past month, could add up to even more wheat seedings for 2019.

John Ernst, a farmer from Alhambra (Madison County) and president of the Illinois Wheat Association, reports wheat plantings on his farm this fall nearly double last year’s acres.

“Wheat is a pretty big priority for us. We planted close to one-third of our farm in wheat,” Ernst told FarmWeek. “That’s pretty close to double the amount of wheat we planted last year.”

All the wheat acres on the Ernst farm went in between Oct. 1-7.

Statewide, farmers planted 74 percent of the wheat crop as of the first of last week, slightly behind the average pace of 76 percent as of Oct. 29.

But emergence reached 50 percent last week, 1 percent ahead of the average growth pace, with the majority (66 percent) in good to excellent shape (up 7 percent from last year).

Elsewhere, Dave DeVore of Siemer Milling in Teutopolis said he bought a fair amount of new crop wheat for the coming year as some farmers in that area increased acres while other farmers, who hadn’t grown wheat in recent seasons, planted some this fall.

Illinois farmers planted 600,000 acres of wheat in the fall of 2018 and harvested 560,000 acres last summer, up 19 percent from the previous year.

All signs currently point to similar totals, or more wheat acres this fall, for 2019 production.