2016 was a year for the record book for wheat farmers across the state of Illinois as the number of bushels per acre produced rose significantly. Many are looking toward 2017 and wondering if it will set another record.
Jim Fraley, executive director at the Illinois Wheat Association, said the record-breaking wheat harvest has renewed interest in growing the crop and more people are including it in their crop rotations.
Taking a look at the record-breaking wheat harvest numbers, on average, 74 bushels per acre were produced — which is up from 67 bushels in 2013 and 2014, Agrinews stated.
In the last five years, 65 bushels per acre were grown on average and in total last year, the harvest yield was 34.78 million bushels, according to Agrinews.
Fraley says a healthy wheat harvest can have long-term benefits.
“It could be double cropped; in other words, another crop could follow it after it’s harvested. It really looks like a good economic decision,” Fraley said.
Fraley said the economic impact was significant for farmers.
“You had farmers who were able to economically glean about $900 an acre, which was very very respectable,” Fraley said.
The state of Illinois is also benefiting from the record-breaking wheat harvest.
“Illinois is a great processing state when it comes to using up the commodities that farmers produce, so it means a bountiful supply of excellent quality product,” Fraley said.
Will the record-breaking numbers continue?
Fraley said he can’t make that prediction. But he suggested that, if the prices wane in response to a higher supply of wheat, farmers might start planting other crops — but if farmers can get a good price for their wheat yields, they will keep planting wheat.
“If the money is there and it economically makes sense for a farmer to plant wheat and soybeans, he’ll go on ahead and do it,” Fraley said.
–Illinois News Network