CORRECTING IOWA CORN YIELD: At Tour''s End: Iowa Shows Potential

August 20, 2008 07:00 PM


Three basic themes emerged from the Eastern leg of the 2008 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, according to Tour Director, Roger Bernard. The themes: 1.) potential; 2.) behind; 3.) dryness.


Bernard says it will be a tenuous situation over the next month or two to see if the first trend can hold up in spite of the final two. If weather stays perfect through the remainder the growing season, and if frost holds off to later than normal times, there is potential for a good corn and soybean crop.


In Iowa, which accounted for the bulk of the Eastern tour on Thursday, Bernard says there were generally better corn yields. However, there is still a large swath through the center of the state where June flooding occurred and there significant moisture throughout the spring that showed less yield potential.


The yield estimates from the Iowa portion of the tour average 168.33 bu./acre, essentially steady with last year's tour number. This number is also even with USDA's August projection of 171 bu./acre.


Soybeans didn't fare as well as corn. Soybean pod counts for 2008 averaged 1091.25 pods per three-foot by three-foot area, compared to 1218.40 on the tour last year.


Help, Mother Nature. This sets up the situation Bernard points to. The potential for a larger crop compared to 2007 is there, but the lateness of the crop is not reflected in these numbers and can't be factored in until the crop is in the bin.


"This is one of those years if you ever need a perfect finish, or a near perfect finish, this is it,” Bernard sys. "Mother Nature needs to smile on this crop this fall. I think a normal frost will hurt a big chunk of this crop. And I think even a later than normal frost, with some of this crop in Ohio, there will still be some that gets nicked.


"Once we moved west in Indiana we started seeing a crop that was gaining in maturity. It's still not where we want to see it for this time of year, but in much better shape. In Illinois, we started seeing those 200 bu./acre yields. Now, in contrast to what we saw a year ago, we saw a lot of fields that would have gone into the combine a month from the crop tour. We didn't see any of those this year at all.”


Disappointment for some. For Brazilian, Fabio Meneghin of Agro Consultant and scout on the Eastern tour says overall, the crop was very disappointing for both corn and soybeans because of the crop's lateness.


"I think the corn in Iowa will match last year for yield. On soybeans, I think the number from USDA is very high—probably 20% higher than the USDA number. We took twelve samples in Iowa and it was 22% below the Pro Farmer tour number for 2007.”


Meneghin, on his fourth year of the Crop Tour says the crop did get better for both corn and soybeans as the group moved west. What struck him most was the variability of the yields and how close those areas could be to one another.


"In Indiana we saw much better than Ohio for both corn and soybeans. I was disappointed with eastern Illinois, because of the overall condition. It was dry and there were small ears. Soybeans had very small pods in Illinois.


"Iowa was very irregular,” he says.”There was good district right next to a bad district. The main characteristic of the crop was the same across all states in most years. This year, it was very irregular. There wasn't just one standard for the Midwest across all states.


"Soybeans are still below the previous three year and still below average. The famers I was travelling with said the frost risk is high in three of four fields from central Iowa to the state line. One of the fields we saw was in stage three, in Hancock County near the Minnesota border.”


Bernard says the pod counts were variable throughout the week. In Illinois, in particular, the southeast district brought up the state average with pod counts in a three-foot by three-foot area rising above 2,000 pods and in some cases, even above 3,000. 

Click here to contact Greg Vincent.


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