The eastern leg of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Bloomington, Illinois, with crop scouts traveling to Iowa City, Iowa. The western leg began in Nebraska City, Nebraska, with scouts traveling to Spencer, Iowa . Final results for Illinois and western Iowa will be released tonight on www.profarmer.com. Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory has sampled in the Iowa counties of Union, Madison (district 8), Adair (district 7), Dallas, (district 5) and Greene (district 4). Corn yields have ranged from 78 bu. per acre (Madison) to 170.4 bu. (Union), with an average of 133.3 bushels. He says yields have steadily declined as he has traveled north. "The variably of the corn crop in the southern districts is unbelievable. We were in one field that had four difference stages of development ranging from ear shoots with green silks to corn in soft dough," he says. "The planting issues that people had to deal with earlier this year are having a big impact. But it has improved as we have traveled north. Here in central Iowa we still have some decent yield potential."
Soybean pod counts on Flory's morning route in a 3'X3' square have ranged 300 (Greene) to 1,700 (Union), with an average of 766. "We've been saying beans could be a bigger story in Iowa than disappointing corn yields for quite some time and by what I've seen today, that is true. Pod counts are low. In Greene county, we are seeing more flowers than pods."
"Drought stress is really starting to show up in Greene and Webster counties," adds Flory. "Some areas around here haven't seen a measurable rain since June 28 and the corn and soybean crops are showing it."
Eastern Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete has sampled in the Illinois counties of McLean, Tazewell, Peoria (district 4), Fulton, Knox (district 3) and Henry (district 1). Corn yields have ranged from 101.59 bu. per acre (Peoria) to 211.06 bu. (Tazewell), with an average of 157.63 bu. per acre. As expected, Grete says he's seeing more yield variability than on the previous two days of the Tour. "The first couple of samples showed strong yield potential, but we have seen yields generally go down. But certainly more variably within fields. With some of these fields we're hitting the good spots and others we're hitting the bad spots, which shows the variability. Corn-on-corn is showing some stress and pollination issues are also evident with the tough conditions we've seen."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square have ranged from 367.2 (McLean) to 2,899 (Knox), with an average of 1,220.96. But he says most of his samples are in the 1,150 to 1,200 range. "Again, there is a lot of variably out there. As I've said throughout the eastern Corn Belt so far on this Tour, some of the best looking beans don't have the pods and vise versa. The lower pod counts are coming from the more immature fields, which could add some more pods if timely rains arrive," says Grete.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard has sampled in the Illinois counties of Bureau and Henry (district 1, with yields ranging 161 bu. per acre to 197 bushels. He has crossed the border into district 6 of Iowa, where he's sampled 156 bu. and 216 bu. per acre fields. "As expected, we're seeing more variability today. But we're seeing huge cracks in the ground today where it once had too much water," he says. "Corn ears are tipped back between 2 to 4 inches. We saw one field that was immature so we decided not to sample it because it will not make grain."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square have ranged from 1,374 to 560 in Illinois and 1,080 and 1,720 in Muscatine county, Iowa. "The pod counts are decent, but it's the luck of the draw as to when the beans were planted. Basically the crop is disease free and healthy, but it needs a rain. We're also starting to see more two-bean pods today," adds Bernard.
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