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Chip's Chore Time

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm. In fact... I don't even have horse chores to do any more!

Tough to drive corn yield much lower.

Sep 23, 2008

Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.

I was thinking…

... about the weather we've been having lately.

There's no way we can call weather during the 2008 growing season anything close to perfect. So... please... don't think that's what I'm doing. However... after the cool conditions to end August and start September, conditions have been about as perfect as we could expect IN THE WESTERN Corn Belt. I completely understand the rain event that came just ahead of Hurricane Ike and the rain from the hurricane itself was way too much for the eastern Corn Belt... and the wind that blew through wasn't anything anybody wanted.


As long as we don't get a frost to end the growing season anytime soon (doesn't seem to be in the forecast), the cool temps stretched out the kernel fill period and weather conditions we had at the end of summer were about as good as they could get. That longer kernel fill period gave the corn crop time it needed to gain weight. Growers that were concerned about shallow kernels and light test weights a month ago are starting to talk much more optimistically about their yield potential.

My "gut" still tells me the national average corn yield will be under 150 bu. per acre -- or at least below last year's 151.1 bu. per acre. Still, I can't throw the numbers together to drive the national average corn yield that low. I'm more than willing to accept the idea of a sub-150 national average corn yield and I'm looking for the evidence to support a yield that low... but I just can't find the evidence right now.

My "gut" also still tells me the bean crop is going to disappoint a lot of growers. However, we're starting to see some beans cut around Iowa and the yield reports we're getting sure haven't disappointed the growers. I can still count the actual yield results I've got on one hand, so it's way too early to start thinking the bean yield is going to be surprisingly good... I'm just saying the VERY early trend is better than I expected.

It's funny how the weather has a way of "averaging out" -- not only over a long multi-year period, but also within a single growing season. Too wet early; too dry in the middle; and too wet again at the end for some -- just about perfect for others. While the length of day starts getting shorter now, even the late-planted beans won't be able to benefit much from improved growing conditions. But, much of the corn is still green. No, it's not a dark green in most areas -- but the crop is still green, still collecting energy and still sending that energy into the kernel. That's why I can't drive my corn yield estimate under 150 bu. per acre. (At least not yet.)

What do you think? Drop me a note...

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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

Neil Hadley
In southern Hardin Co. IA. we have had almost perfect weather the last month for corn and soybeans both. On the crop tour there was talk that we could lose some gain length as the ear developed. However the checks that I've made today grain length is if anything slightly longer then at tour time. The milk line is at about 1/2 way down now on even the later planted corn, so a normal frost will not hurt us. So all in all it looks like a very good finish of a vary trying year.
9:09 PM Sep 24th
David Endorf
All those thousands of acres of wind damaged corn from Ike and Gustav will add up to lots of yield losses. Corn that is down will loose 5 to 15 bushels per acre no matter what color of corn head or fancy corn reel you have. Been there - done that.
8:29 PM Sep 23rd
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