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Source: blog by Bradley Zwilling, Illinois FBFM Association and Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

To view the complete report, click here.

In 2020, the total of all economic costs per acre for growing corn in Illinois averaged $869 in the northern section, $893 in the central section for farmland with "high" soil ratings, $850 in the central section for farmland with "low" soil ratings, and $808 in the southern section. Soybean costs per acre were $632, $661, $607 and $608, respectively (see Table 1).

Costs were lower in southern Illinois primarily because of lower land costs. The total of all economic costs per bushel in the different sections of the state ranged from $4.17 to $4.39 for corn and from $10.02 to $10.67 for soybeans. Variations in this cost were related to weather, yields, and land quality.

These figures were obtained from farm business records kept by farmers enrolled in the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association. The samples included only farms with more than 500 acres of productive and nearly level soils in each area of the state; these are farms without livestock. Farms located in the 22 counties north and northwest of the Illinois River are included in the sample for northern Illinois. Farms from 36 counties below a line from about Mattoon to Alton are in the sample for southern Illinois. The remaining 44 counties make up the sample for central Illinois. The sample farms averaged 1,692 tillable acres in northern Illinois, 1,516 acres in the central section with high soil ratings, 1,461 acres in the central section with lower soil ratings, and 1,660 acres in southern Illinois.

Cost of Production for Corn Compared to 2019
Costs per bushel of corn in 2020 as compared to 2019 were lower in all regions of the state. Costs per bushel were lower due to higher yields and lower nonland interest costs. Costs per bushel were 25 cents lower in northern Illinois, 21 cents lower in central Illinois with the higher rated soils, 47 cents lower in central Illinois with the lower rated soils and 43 cents higher in southern Illinois.

The average corn yield in 2020 was 9 bushels per acre higher than 2019 in northern Illinois, 6 bushels to 12 bushel higher in central Illinois and 12 bushels higher than 2019 in southern Illinois. The 2020 average corn yield in the different geographical locations ranged from 10 bushels lower to 9 bushel per acre higher than the five-year average from 2016 to 2020.

Costs per acre for corn were lower in all the different geographic regions in Illinois compared to 2019. Across the state, total costs per acre to produce corn varied from 1 to 4 percent decrease. Nonland interest decreased the most statewide, while some areas experienced decreases in drying and fertility costs.

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