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Source: Univ of Illinois news release

To view the complete report, click here.

Planning for the 2021 crop will begin soon with the determination of 2021 cash rents, selection of 2021 seed hybrids and varieties, application of fertilizers and commencement of fall tillage. To aid with these decisions, Illinois Crop Budgets for 2021 have been released here.

Projections for both 2020 and 2021 are in the Revenue and Costs for Illinois Grain Crops, along with actual results from 2013 to 2019 summarized from Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM), providing historical context. Given expected negative returns for 2021, careful management of expenses will be necessary to cut losses.

Northern Illinois Returns and Costs
Table 1 shows projected returns and costs for 2018 through 2021 for corn and soybeans in northern Illinois. A similar table for high-productivity farmland is available in a July 21, 2020 farmdoc daily article. Both regions have similar trends, although 2019 returns were worse in northern Illinois because of lower yields than in central Illinois.

For 2021, farmer returns are projected at -$75 per acre for corn and -$50 per acre for soybeans. These are very low returns. Comparable returns data exists for corn and soybean production since 2000 (see Figure 1).

If 2021 projections hold, corn and soybeans will both have negative returns. Except for 2017, soybeans had positive returns from 2014 to 2020, while corn had negative returns. In 2017, both corn and soybeans had negative returns (-$61 per acre for corn and -$3 per acre for soybeans). Combined across corn and soybeans, the 2021 farmer return is lower than any combined returns since 2000.

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