February 27, 2017


The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released the 2016 estimated average county yields for corn, soybeans, and other crops. The NASS yields reveal just how remarkable the 2016 crop year was in most of Minnesota, Iowa, and other Upper Midwest States. Many States featured record corn and soybean yields in 2016, as well as the highest ever crop yields in many counties. The 2016 County yields for all crops in Minnesota, Iowa, and all other States are available on the NASS web site at:

NASS is estimating the 2016 corn yield in Minnesota at the record level of 193 bushels per acre, which exceeded the previous State record corn yield of 188 bushels per acre in 2015. Other recent statewide corn yields were 156 bushels per acre in 2014, 159 bushels per acre in 2013, and 165 bushels per acre in 2012. The 2016 average soybean yield in Minnesota is also estimated to be at a record level of 52.5 bushels per acre, which bested the previous State record soybean yield of 50 bushels per acre in 2015. The statewide soybean yields in other recent years were 41.5 bushels per acre in 2014, 42 bushels per acre in 2013, and 43.5 bushels per acre in 2012.

Based on the NASS data, Minnesota had a total 2016 corn production of nearly 1.54 billion bushels, compared to 1.43 billion bushels in 2015, and 1.18 billion bushels in 2014. The eleven counties in Minnesota’s South Central Crop Reporting District produced over 331 million bushels of corn last year. Renville County produced the most corn in 2016 at 51.6 million bushels, followed in top five for corn production by Martin County at 49 million bushels, Redwood County at 47.2 million bushels, Faribault County at 44.4 million bushels, and Mower County at 40.8 million bushels.

Fifteen counties in Minnesota had 2016 average corn yields that exceeded 200 bushels per acre, based on the NASS data. Nicollet County had the highest average corn yield at 209.4 bushels per acre, followed in the top five counties by Faribault County at 208.5 bushels per acre, Martin County at 207.6 bushel per acre, Stevens County in West Central Minnesota at 205.2 bushels per acre, and Waseca County at 204.6 bushels per acre. Other counties that exceeded 200 bushels per acre yield in 2016 were Cottonwood, Dodge, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Redwood, Rock, Sibley, Steele, and Yellow Medicine.

Most other counties in West Central Minnesota and the southern one-third of Minnesota, as well as some counties in Central Minnesota had 2015 corn yields between 185 and 199 bushels per acre. Many counties in Northwest Minnesota were in the 160 to 180 bushel per acre range. It should be pointed out that some major corn producing counties in Southern Minnesota had lower yields in 2016, as compared to 2015, primarily due to excessive rainfall during the early part of the growing season. Counties that had year-to-year reduced corn yields on 8 bushels per acre or more included Blue Earth, Freeborn, Goodhue, Rice, and Watonwan.

Minnesota produced 393.7 million bushels of soybeans in 2016, compared to 377.5 million bushels in 2015 and 301.7 million bushels in 2014. The top five soybean producing counties in 2016 all exceeded a total production above 10 million bushels, led by Polk County with 13.2 million bushels. Other counties in the top five for soybean production were Redwood County at 11.4 million bushels, Renville county at 11.1 million bushels, Marshall County at 10.6 million bushels, and Faribault at 10.4 million bushels. It is interesting to note that both Polk and Marshall counties are in the Northwest Crop Reporting District.

Nine counties in Minnesota had a 2016 average soybean yield that exceeded 60 bushels per acre, based on the NASS yield data. Faribault County had the highest average soybean yield at 64.1 bushels per acre, followed by Olmsted and Rock Counties, both at 61.9 bushels per acre, and Nicollet and Wabasha Counties, both at 61.7 bushels per acre. Other counties with average 2016 soybean yields exceeding 60 bushels per acre included Waseca County (61.5), Martin County (61.4), Goodhue County (61.0), and Winona County (60.3). Most other counties in the southern one-third of Minnesota, as well as several counties in Central and West Central Minnesota had 2016 soybean yields above 55 bushels per acre. The Central Crop Reporting District averaged 53.9 bushels per acre, while the West Central District averaged 52.1 bushels per acre and the Northwest District averaged 40.5 bushels per acre.

Iowa had an incredible 2016 statewide average corn yield of 203 bushels per acre, which surpassed the previous record yield of 192 bushels per acre in 2015 by 6 percent. Based on the NASS estimates, Iowa produced 2.74 billion bushels of corn in 2016, compared to just over 2.5 billion bushels in 2015. Kossuth County lead the State with a production of 68.4 million bushels. The other top five producing corn counties were Pottawattamie (52.8 million bushels), Crawford (47.1 million bushels), Webster (45.7 million bushels), and Sioux (43.9 million bushels).

Sixty of the ninety-nine counties in Iowa had 2016 corn yields that averaged over 200 bushels per acre, with twenty-one counties averaging over 210 bushels per acre. Cherokee County lead the State with a 2016 average corn yield of 219.7 bushels per acre, followed by Ida and Scott Counties, both at 216 bushels per acre, Cedar and Shelby Counties, both at 215.3 bushels per acre. Other counties exceeding a 2016 average corn yield of 210 bushels per acre were Bremer, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa, Jasper, Marshall, O’Brien, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Sac, Sioux, Story, and Winneshiek.

Iowa produced just over 571.7 million bushels of soybeans in 2016, compared 553.7 million bushels in 2015, based on the NASS production estimates. Plymouth County was the leading soybean producing county in 2016 at 13 million bushels, followed by Kossuth County at 12.8 million bushels, Pottawattamie County at 11.1 million bushels, Sioux County at 10.1 million bushels, and Woodbury County at 9.9 million bushels.

Cherokee County had the highest 2016 county average soybean yield in Iowa at an incredible 70.1 bushels per acre. This was followed by Ida County at 68.1 bushels per acre, Plymouth and Lyon Counties, both at 66.7 bushels per acre, and Sioux County at 66.4 bushels per acre. Forty-nine counties, or nearly half of the counties in Iowa, had average soybean yields above 60 bushels per acre in 2016, and all counties in the State had average yields exceeding 50 bushels per acre.


Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and

Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN.  (Phone — (507) 381-7960);

E-mail —


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