Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but doing morning horse chores before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead.
I was thinking…
... about the "finish" for the corn and soybean crops.
Warm (not hot) temps and sunshine is exactly what the corn and soybean crops needed... and that's what we've seen for the last three weeks. Unfortunately, the change in the weather also brought with it the longest stretch of dry weather the central Corn Belt has seen all summer. We're on day 17 without rain in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Fortunately, there was plenty of soil moisture available to the corn and soybean crops, so the dry spell shouldn't have much impact on final yields. But there are some other serious concerns for the corn and soybean crops in Iowa.
On corn, anthracnose is making several fields look "weird" -- fired on the bottom, green in the middle, and fired on top. With the corn plant firing from the top down, the growing season has effectively come to an end in those fields. That's one of the reasons some growers are "surprised" by how quickly the crop "finished." After thinking fields needed another two weeks (or more) to get to black layer, all of the sudden these diseased fields are looking like they'll be ready to harvest in about two weeks. It'll be interesting to see what impact anthracnose has on yields. Obviously, the maturity of the crop when the disease hit will impact how much yield is lost (by way of lower test weights). With the milk line less than halfway down the kernel, yield loss could be 5% (or slightly more). With the milk line more than halfway down the kernel, yield loss could be 3% (or less).
On soybeans, the disease pressure has been extremely varied. Brown stem rot, root rot, SDS, and white mold seem to be most common. And most fields have a "nick" here and there... some will undoubtedly see significant yield loss from disease with dead plants scattered across all acres in individual fields.
But... will the impact be "noticed" or "quantifiable" when combines roll? Well... we'll have to wait and see. But, USDA's Sept. 1 state soybean yield estimates should make it fairly simple to identify how much damage was done by disease. That's because yields in key states with some hefty disease pressure were unchanged from August: Iowa at 52 bu.per acre; Minnesota at 40 bu. per acre; Illinois at 44 bu. per acre; and Ohio at 47 bu. per acre. I'm wondering if Indiana didn't "show" the trend of bean yields for the October update... the state's bean yield estimate was down 2 bu. from Aug. 1, to 43 bu. per acre.
But... the corn and soybean crops got what they needed -- warm temps and plenty of sunshine... and there's more on the way. Frost fears are falling and yield expectations are generally climbing in the market. In fact, yield expectations have climbed high enough that it will be very difficult for this year's corn and soybean crops to meet those expectations.