The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released its final 2018 county yield and production estimates. County-level regional granularity provides further insight into the areas driving agricultural production growth. For the United States as a whole, 2018 was the second best year in history for both corn and soybean yields at 176.4 and 51.6 bushels per acre, respectively.
A whopping 180 counties averaged at least 200 bushels of corn produced per acre in 2018, and 26 counties averaged over 70 bushels per acre of soybeans. To illustrate the widespread production gains, in 2008 only 24 counties exceeded 200 bushels per acre of corn production, and no counties surpassed the 70 bushel per acre of soybeans threshold. In 2018, the best corn-yielding county was Benton, Washington, which is a large producer of sweet corn. Outside of Benton, the top-yielding county was Douglas, Illinois. The next three top-yielding counties were also located in Illinois, including Piatt, Warren, and Macon counties. At 82.3 bushels per acre, Sangamon, Illinois was the highest yielding county for soybeans in 2018. In fact, Illinois contained the top 5 yielding counties for soybeans, which included the counties of Morgan, Douglas, Piatt, and Moultrie.
Subscribers to Gro Intelligence can access the USDA’s full history of county yield, acreage, and production data. In addition, Gro’s own yield models will begin publishing estimates for the upcoming 2019 corn and soybean crops in mid-April, providing Gro users with county-level estimates almost a year in advance of the USDA.