Corn fields near Royal, Illinois. Author: Daniel Schwen. Licensing: GFDL. Original cropped.

In August, my office phone lights up with calls from farmland owners wanting to know about the direction of cash rent values for farms here in east-central Illinois. This is never easy to answer because no one can accurately forecast the future. Currently, we are looking for average to above yields for the area’s corn and soybean crops. The price outlook for this fall's corn and soybean crops is better than was anticipated earlier in the year due to weather problems in other parts of the world as well as the United States.

Two Weeks after post-emergence herbicide application

This is the third year in a row that I have seen tall waterhemp, over 6" tall, sprayed with a post-emergent herbicide combination containing dicamba. Last year, I noticed a few fields where it seemed that tall waterhemp had survived a late application of dicamba and appeared to have small seed heads.

Young corn plants in the field

If you have been watching cornfields in Central Illinois, you may have noticed that the young corn plants have changed colors over the past couple of weeks. In late April, the small corn plants were green in color and two weeks later these same plants are pale yellow-green. On April 26, the 4-inch bare soil temperature was averaging 65°F. On May 12, the temperature was 49°F.

Corn Harvester in field

The fall of the year is not only a time of harvest, but also of lease signing. For the past four years, rents in Illinois have been relatively stable with highly productive farmland average rental rates being in the $270 - $290 range. This trend looks to continue for 2021, since there has been an improvement in crop prices in the past six weeks.

Computer showing graphs

Over the past couple of weeks, stock and commodity agriculture markets have been struggling.

Pile of stored grain corn

Stored grain should be kept at or near 35°F according to the experts. But over the past month in Central Illinois, the average daily temperature has varied 44°F – from a high daily average of 52° F to a low of 8°F.

Moisture in a filled grain bin moves from the warmed grain near the outside wall to the cooler grain in the center.