The third day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official yield results in Illinois and western Iowa. Illinois samples resulted in an average corn yield of 121.60 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 944.05 in a 3’X3’ square. The final data for western Iowa can be found here.
Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted widely varied yields on his Tour through Illinois yesterday — in fields just 15 miles apart. And based on talks with a local farmer, spotty rains are likely the culprit. Grete observes, "Standability and stalk quality were the primary issues we saw outside of moisture stress."
The average pod count on Grete’s route was even lower than the state average at 892 pods per 3’X3’ square. He says, "Many of the bean plants had very few pods on the lower portion of the plant, which is a theme we've seen through most areas this week. While there was less weed pressure than in Ohio and Indiana, the soybean pod counts simply weren't there."
As no blooms remain on the plants, Grete says the bean crop will now have to work to maximize what yield potential is there and "in some cases work to keep pods from aborting and losing yield potential."
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard says his route through Illinois saw brisk harvest activity south of Decatur, as well it should’ve been. "Corn was going down and it was definitely ready. Samples were rumored to be as low as the mid-20s to mid-teens in moisture," Bernard elaborates.
A talk with a curious police officer confirmed there was local concern about the potential aflatoxin issue due to the fungi aspergillis. But that along with stock rot and a few corn ear worms appear to be the extent of insect and disease pressure on corn, Bernard reports, who also noted extremely variably crops on his route.
On soybeans, Bernard says that while "it won’t be what it might’ve been, it could’ve been a lot worse." He confirms the light disease and insect pressure on the crop.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory makes a plea for critics to "PLEASE look at the history of the Tour before making any comments about the Tour," before getting into his findings in Iowa yesterday. While Iowa results won’t be released until tomorrow because Brian Grete will lead scouts through the eastern two-thirds of the state today, a "sneak peak" at western Iowa reveals the state’s crop is much the same story as the rest of the Corn Belt — yields are down, though to a lesser extreme than some other areas.
On seeing a combine rolling in western Iowa, Flory "hopped up in the cab and the corn was at about 22% moisture and the yield sample we pulled about three minutes before the crop was harvested was less than 2 bu. different than what the yield monitor said at that spot of the field."
On soybeans, Flory says the problems "were the same as we've been describing the last two days... too much heat and too little water."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck had hoped to see his home state of Iowa shine, but noted "this may not be the year to see anything shine." He also saw harvest underway. He was amazed at the amount of stalk lodged corn he found and the extent of damage. "Stalk lodging, by definition, is the breakage of the stalk below the ear. Severely lodged corn leads to increased harvest losses, increased harvest time, increased drying cost, and may result in volunteer corn the following year. To me this is important, because the plants were being cannibalized and growers need to understand that in this environment, action needs to be taken," he explains.
He says crop conditions and yields improved as his route moved north as these areas had received a little rain.
But on soybeans, Franck says, "We started the Tour with disappointing comments on soybeans and today didn't change that perception. The lack of big cluster numbers is keeping our counts low. Additionally, today we were seeing pods with one good, plump bean and two beans flat and out of time. I estimate 10% of the fields on the Tour today were turning for maturity reasons and the remaining fields are quickly behind." He continues that this leaves little hope Mother Nature will correct such conditions.
Today, Tour scouts on the eastern leg will begin their day in Iowa City, Iowa, and the western leg of the Tour will depart from Spencer, Iowa. Both legs will end the day in Owatonna, Minnesota, with the release of official Tour results from Iowa and Minnesota.
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour.