The eastern leg of the 2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Bloomington, Illinois, and will travel to Iowa City, Iowa. The western leg of the Tour began in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and will meet in Spencer, Iowa. Tonight, final results from western Iowa and Illinois will be released on www.profarmer.com. Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.
Western Tour leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory this morning sampled in the Iowa counties of Fremont, Page, Montgomery, Adams, Adair (District 7), Union (District 8) and Guthrie (District 4). Chip's route started off by sampling four hail-impacted fields in a row, ranging from zero to 112 bu. per acre. "When I got out of the hailed area, the range improved to 102 bu. to 142 bu. per acre and I just got north of I-80 and into Guthrie County and pulled a sample of 204 bu. per acre. "I hope we're getting into better corn now. Because Southwest Iowa was very poor," says Chip.
"Even in the hail-impacted area, pod counts were pretty good when we started, but progressively got worse as hail broke stems," says Chip, who reports bean pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square ranged 120 to 1,498 pods in the hailed area. "The problem is they lost 80% to 90% of the leaves so there is nothing left to capture energy and turn it into bean size. Those beans will be poor regardless of how many pods are on them."
Chip says once he traveled north, bean pod counts began to improve, ranging 749 to 1,524 pods in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square. "There are pods out here. The problem for west-central Iowa is the bean crop is showing moisture stress," he adds.
Western Tour consultant Terry Johnston this morning took samples in the Iowa counties of Mills, Pottawattamie (District 7), Shelby and Crawford (District 4). Terry echoes the concerns about the hail and wind damage in Southwest Iowa. He says in Shelby County, the crop was stripped down to
the stalk, broken off just above the ear. "It was a massive mess," he says.
Terry reports a yield range on his route this morning of 128 bu. to 174 bu. per acre, with an average of 153 bu. per acre. "We are seeing some similar issues that we saw in Nebraska in additional to the hail and wind. Unfortunately, ear populations are down due to emergence."
Terry reports bean pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square this morning on his route averaged 236 to 1241 pods, with an average of 825 pods. "The problem with the average for our route this morning is hail. There's just not much more I can say about the crop I've seen this morning. Hopefully we'll see a better crop as we head north," he says.
Eastern Tour leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete this morning sampled in the Illinois counties of Tazewell, Peoria (District 4), Knox, Warren (District 3) and Mercer (District 1).
On his route this morning, Brian reports corn yields have ranged 121.2 bu. (major lodging issues) to 200 bu. per acre, with an average around 164.3 bushels. "It's dry. We saw better plant health early on the route, but as we've traveled north and further west, it has dried out and the maturity has been pushed. The sandy soils aren't conducive to the type of weather we've had this summer. And the lodging will be an issue," he says.
Soybean pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square ranged 896 to 2023 pods, with an average of 905 pods. "We've seen some variability this morning," says Brian. "A little bit of bug pressure, but nothing that will hurt the crop a lot. Moisture is more of an issue. This crop could use a good rain. It's been pretty dry all day on my route, except moisture was better as we left Bloomington. But every since then we've seen a dry crop in west-central Illinois. It simply needs rain, especially on the lighter soils."
Eastern Tour consultant Mark Bernard sampled in the Illinois counties of Woodford, Marshall (District 4), Putnam, Bureau and Whiteside (District 1) this morning. He reports a variable corn crop, with yield samples ranging 94 bu. to 227 bu. per acre and an average of 160 bu. per acre. "We are seeing a middle-of-the-road crop that you don’t want to see in Illinois to bring up the state average," he said. "Illinois doesn't have as much disease as I thought I'd see. I thought I'd see the highly advertised Goss's Wilt, but apparently there's more darn Goss's Wilt in the newspaper than there is on my route this morning."
Bean pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square ranged 912 to 1810 pods, with an average 1337 pods. "We've seen more Japanese beetles than the previous two days and some hailed on fields," says Mark. "The moisture is probably holding it back the most, although they've seen a recent rain. It just needs a rain to finish it off. The pods have been a little fuller than the previous two days. The bean crop has been faring a little better than the corn on my route today."