It’s all about location, at least in Iowa, according to Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour scouts. Rumors of a better crop in the Hawkeye state persisted throughout the week as the tour moved west, but the final analysis really depends on where you were.
But it seems as if the bad certainly outnumbered the good. Iowa tour numbers came in at 164.62, down 4.77 bushels from 2010’s numbers. The 2010 tour yield was 169.39. Soybean pod counts are down 125.55 pods in a 3' x 3' area.
Perhaps independent ag consultant Peter Meyer summed it up best. "Iowa may stop the bleeding, but it’s not going to heal the wound."
Meyer started the final day of the tour just north of Iowa City on Highway 1, through Fayette County to Decorah and straight north into Minnesota. Overall he says the crop was better in Iowa, but it wasn’t good enough to alleviate his concerns about a potentially short national yield.
For other scouts, like Doug Miller, a farmer and veteran scout, however, it was a drastic change once they crossed the Mississippi River on Wednesday.
"It was a night and day difference once we crossed into Iowa," says the Greene, Iowa, farmer. "The beans in Iowa were a lot more developed here and the corn was a lot better."
Miller crossed the state line from Illinois to Iowa in extreme southeast Iowa at Burlington. "It was a little dry down there, but it was better than what we had seen in other states," he says.
Pat Solon, a farmer from Streator, Ill., however, was extremely disappointed in the Iowa crop. "The healthiest areas I’ve heard rumored in Iowa were some of the worst we saw from insect damage," he says. "We talked to a farmer who said the same thing. Corn aphids were terrible. The whole plant was covered. It was localized in the Fredricksburg area."
He crossed the river at Savannah, Ill. The route he took through Illinois was among the best in that state. The route he took on Thursday through northern Iowa was only about 40 miles to the west of Miller’s. While the distance was not great, the crop was.
"This morning we started at Tipton and headed northwest to Marengo and to Highway 63 and straight north into Minnesota. It seems like every 40 miles we lost 20 bushels.
"I think Black Hawk county was our best county. Even when we got into Filmore County it continued to go down in Minnesota. Most of it was because of poor stands. It doesn’t look like it ever came up. There were a lot of skips, and we saw lots of corn plants that had 12 inches between plants."