From the Rows, Day 4 Western Tour
Hi guys... it's been a crazy last 12 hours... I snuck in about a 3 hour nap after putting together our crop estimates and didn't get a chance to offer up any perspective on what we saw during Tour on the final day. Since we've already released our crop estimates, I've got a little time to mention some (what I think are) important points.
Maximum Yield: The Crop Tour corn yield in Iowa of 172 bu. per acre and 181 bu. per acre in Minnesota represent maximum yield potential of the crops... if it were July 22 instead of Aug. 22. If the crop in these two late-planted states looked this good back in July, we'd have the potential to be flooded with corn this fall. But it's not July 22... it's August 22. On July 22, the corn that is in late-milk to early dough would need about 40-45 days to reach black layer. On August 22, that changes. Shorter days means it takes longer to get it to black layer... potentially 45 to 52 days, depending on temperatures and how much sunlight we see.
Another reason I call the Iowa and Minnesota corn yield estimates from Crop Tour the "maximum" is because there a whole lot more downside risk to the calculated yields than there is room to the upside.
Beans are not good: The pod counts in Iowa and Minnesota are down about 7% from last year when drought stressed an early planted crop and caused some significant pod abortion. This year, the reason for the low pod count is because of planting dates, cool temps and a lack of solar energy to build up a bean yield. Last year, the bean crop put on yield potential and managed to hold onto 39.6 bu. per acre of it until rains fell and filled up the seeds. This year, the yield is still being built very late in the season and the crop will likely run out of time.
Dry: Rains fixed the dry soil problem on some of the areas in Iowa and Minnesota yesterday, but not all of them. And some good rains slipped unexpectedly into Illinois and Indiana. But the amount of dry soil out there in the easter Belt still far outweighs the ground that got a shot of moisture. The lack of moisture in the soil across the Corn Belt means we're asking the corn and bean crops to fill seeds with very few resources.
Nitrogen: Very few fields in southern Minnesota weren't showing some sign of nitrogen deficiency. And the signs were about as classic as can be -- a yellow rib running down the middle of a green leaf. Normally at this time of the year, I wouldn't be overly concerned by some nitrogen deficiency. This year, however, the crop still has about 6 weeks of work to do to get to black layer... and it's quickly running out of the gas that fuels that job.
Thank You!! Scouts... here's question for you... "What's the most important thing that happened on Tour?" (The western scouts can hear me preaching again!!) The most important thing is all the scouts made it from point A to point B every day and throughout the week safely. Thank God for that!
You were all awesome on Tour... you worked hard, you showed other scouts respect, your participation in the evening meetings was highly professional. It is my and Brian's honor to have led you on Tour this week.
Special thanks to Mark Bernard and Jason Franck... we literally couldn't do it without you. Mike Walsten, Joe May and Emily Flory kept things running smoothly on the western leg of the trip and Chuck Roth, Shelley Eilderts and Donna McCune had everybody on the east pointed in the right direction. Great job by all!!