The third day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour ended with results from Illinois and western Iowa being released. Tour results for Illinois found an average corn yield of 155.99 bu. per acre and pod counts in a 3’x3’ square totaled 1,196.04 pods.
Complete results for Iowa will not be released until this evening, but corn samples from Districts 1, 4 and 7 showed an average yield of 176.64 Bu, 172.96 Bu and 143.19 Bu per acre, respectively. Total pod counts for Districts 1, 4 and 7 in a 3’x3' square were came in at 1,104.27, 1,234.52, and 1,128.13 pods, respectively.
On his trek through Illinois, Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour director Brian Grete says, "While scouts found many more instances of good crops on Day 3, there were still plenty of disappointments."
For Illinois’s soybean crop, specifically, Grete says it was "generally healthier and more podded than I had seen the first two days of Tour." Nevertheless, the final Illinois soybean pod count in a 3’x3’ square of 1,196.04 is down 8.6% from the prior year. The Tour’s average corn yield for the state at 155.99 Bu per acre is down 6.3% from 2010.
Eastern Tour consultant Mark Bernard explains, "We saw yields vary from a high of 227 Bu per acre in Marshall County. On the next stop in the same county, we also recorded our low yield for the day at 94 Bu per acre." In the corn crop, Bernard did come across fields with what looked to be the start of anthracnose stalk rot and Goss’s wilt, but he says these fields were far enough along that yield impact should be negligible.
Of what he describes as a "so-so" bean crop, Bernard notes, "The soybean pods we looked at today were slightly farther along than what we saw the previous two days. They may need to be as Illinois is subject to the cold air we Minnesotans like to send them after we’re through with it."
Bernard says disease pressure in Illinois soybean fields was light and elaborates, "After looking over some comments from last year’s Crop Tour, one thing of note was the relative lack of soybean disease."
Pro Farmer Editor and western Tour director Chip Flory says what he saw in the southwest corner of Iowa (District 7) was sobering. He elaborates that he saw the absolute worst hail damage he's ever seen... anywhere. "This is the 19th Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour... and I went on four tours before we started running it. That means I've been on 23 crop tours… Tens of thousands of acres are impacted and some (more than some, really) will see absolutely zero yield. Those will be "new" Failed Acres on FSA Certified Acre report when they update the file in September," he says.
Western Tour consultant Terry Johnston says the extent of the damage was shocking. "The damage is not isolated; it covers several counties in southwest and south-central Iowa. I can’t remember seeing this much serious storm damage over such a large area in all my years on the Crop Tour."
As the Tour moved north, the corn crop did improve. Districts 4 and 1 showed average corn yields compared to year ago. But this is where Johnston says he disagrees with the Tour "just a bit." He explains, "The crop in the west central and northwest crop districts has the potential to be better than last year. But it seems like there are too many ‘nicks’ to yield (wind damage, dry conditions, some disappointing ear counts). Those ‘nicks’ might keep the corn crop from equaling last year’s corn yield. It just doesn’t seem like the corn crop has the potential to equal last year."
Johnston and Flory agree that the soybeans in western Iowa are much the same as the rest of the Tour -- the crop is mostly disease and insect free, but it needs rain. If showers come, the soybeans should finish strong.
On Thursday, Tour scouts on the eastern leg begin their day in Iowa City, Iowa, and western Tour scouts begin their day in Spencer, Iowa. Both legs of the Tour will meet in Austin, Minnesota, Final results from Iowa and Minnesota will be released this evening on ProFarmer.com and AgWeb.com.