Record 2017 Corn Yields in Minnesota

March 5, 2018


The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released the 2017 estimated average county yields for corn, soybeans, and other crops. The NASS yields reveal just how surprisingly remarkable the 2017 corn yields were in the Southern half of Minnesota, as well as in some other areas of the Upper Midwest States. 2017 was the third year in a row that Minnesota has achieved a record corn yield. The 2017 County yields for all crops in Minnesota, Iowa, and all other States are available on the NASS web site at:

NASS is estimating the 2017 corn yield in Minnesota at the record level of 194 bushels per acre, which exceeded the previous State record corn yield of 193 bushels per acre in 2016. Other recent statewide corn yields were 188 bushels per acre in 2015, 156 bushels per acre in 2014, and 159 bushels per acre in 2013. The 2017 average soybean yield in Minnesota is estimated at 47 bushels per acre, which is well below the State record soybean yield of 52 bushels per acre in 2016, and also trails the 50 bushels per acre average yield in 2015. However, the 2017 statewide soybean yield is well above other recent statewide average yields of 41.5 bushels per acre in 2014 and 42 bushels per acre in 2013.

Based on the NASS data, Minnesota had an estimated total 2017 corn production of just over 1.48 billion bushels, compared to 1.54 billion bushels in 2016, 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 just over 323 million bushels of corn last year, followed by the West Central Minnesota District at over 297 million bushels, and the Southwest District at nearly 291 million bushels. Renville County produced the most corn in 2017 at 53.6 million bushels, followed in the top five for corn production by Martin, Redwood, Faribault, and Mower counties.

An incredible twenty-eight counties in the Southern third of Minnesota had 2017 average corn yields that exceeded 200 bushels per acre, based on the NASS data. Watonwan County had the highest estimated average corn yield at the exceptional level of 218.9 bushels per acre, followed in the top five counties by Dodge County at 215.8 bushels per acre, Faribault County at 215.3 bushels per acre, Waseca County at 215 bushels per acre, and Steele County at 214.8 bushels per acre. Other counties that exceeded 205 bushels per acre yield in 2017 were Blue Earth, Carver, Cottonwood, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Le Sueur, Martin, McLeod, Mower Nicollet, Olmsted, Renville, Rice, Rock, Sibley, and Wabasha.

Most other counties in West Central and Southern Minnesota had 2017 corn yields that exceeded 185 per acre; however, the 2017 corn yields in many counties in Central and West Central Minnesota were lower than the record 2016 corn yield levels. The estimated 2017 corn yields in Northwest Minnesota were well below the 2016 record corn yields in most counties. The 2017 corn planting dates in the Northern half of Minnesota were later than normal, and some portions of the region got somewhat dry late in the growing season.

Based on NASS estimates, Minnesota produced just over 380.2 million bushels of soybeans in 2017, compared to slightly under 389.5 million bushels in 2016, and 377.5 million bushels in 2015. The top five soybean producing counties in 2017 all exceeded a total production above 10 million bushels, led by Polk County in Northwest Minnesota with 12.3 million bushels. Other counties in the top five for soybean production were Renville County at 11.9 million bushels, Redwood County at 11.4 million bushels, Blue Earth County at 10.2 million bushels, and Faribault at 10 million bushels.

Most counties in Minnesota had lower 2017 estimated soybean yields that were lower than the record 2016 yield levels. Watonwan County was an exception, with a yield of 60.3 bushels per acre, and was the only county that had an average yield that exceeded 60 bushels per acre in 2017, compared to nine counties in Minnesota that exceeded that level in 2016. Following Watonwan County, the next highest 2017 county soybean yield estimates were Martin County at 59 bushels per acre, Faribault County at 58.7 bushels per acre, Rock County at 58 bushels per acre, and Blue Earth County at 57.4 bushels per acre. Other counties with estimated average 2017 soybean yields exceeding 55 bushels per acre included Cottonwood, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Steele, and Waseca.

Based on the NASS estimates, Iowa produced just over 2.6 billion bushels of corn in 2017, compared to slightly over 2.7 billion bushels in 2016, and 2.5 billion bushels in 2015. Kossuth County, which is the largest in geographic area, lead the State with an estimated production of 63.3 million bushels, followed by Pottawattamie, Sioux, Crawford, and Clinton counties, all producing over 41 million bushels in 2017. The estimated 2017 statewide average corn yield in Iowa was 202 bushels per acre, which is just below the record Iowa average corn yield of 203 bushels per acre in 2016; however, the 2017 yield was well above the 192 bushels per acre yield level in 2015.

Fifty-three of the ninety-nine counties in Iowa had 2017 corn yields that averaged over 200 bushels per acre, with nineteen counties averaging over 215 bushels per acre. Marshall County, in Central Iowa, lead the State with a 2017 average corn yield of 222.4 bushels per acre, followed by Cedar County at 222.3 bushels per acre, Crawford County at 221.9 bushels per acre, Buchanan County at 221.3 bushels per acre, and Sioux County at 220.7 bushels per acre. Other counties with an estimated 2017 average corn yield exceeding 220 bushels per acre were Scott, Tama, and Washington.

Iowa produced just over 561.5 million bushels of soybeans in 2017, compared 566.4 million bushels in 2016, based on the NASS production estimates. Iowa had an estimated 2017 statewide average soybean yield of 56.5 bushels per acre, which is well below the 2016 record average statewide soybean yield of 60 bushels per acre. The Northwest Crop Reporting District had the highest regional average soybean yields in 2017, with Sioux County topping the State with an estimated average yield at 64.6 bushels per acre. Other top soybean yielding in 2017 were Lyon County at 63.2 bushels per acre, Marshall and Grundy counties at 63 bushels per acre, Scott County at 62.8 bushels per acre, and Delaware County at 62.5 bushels per acre.



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

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

E-mail — (


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