The third day of the 2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official results from Illinois. Results from Iowa districts 1, 4 and 7 were also released last night, but full results from Iowa and Minnesota will be released tonight. Day three Illinois samples resulted in an average corn yield of 180.72 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,230.77 pods in a 3'x'3 square.
The eastern leg traced a route from Bloomington, Illinois, to Iowa City, Iowa, and reports lower ear counts, grain length and kernel rows compared to last year's tour.
Pro Farmer Editor and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted, "Ear counts, grain length and kernel rows around all came in lower than year-ago, which triggered a 6.6% decline in yields from last year. With all three components of our yield formula down from year-ago, corn yields will be down from last year, it's just a matter of how much. While the late-season rains will help the Illinois soybean crop, our soil moisture rating was still down 1.1% from last year. The Illinois soybean crop is still going to need at least one more rain to make it to the finish line."
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard said, "No different than the past two days on today's route, it was evident that the crop had encountered beneficial weather since the time it was in potential trouble after it was planted. The moderate temperatures and rainfall events with adequate yet not excessive precipitation helped it develop into a better crop than one might've expected back in May and June. It took a punch but got back up off the deck. It still has a ways to go but in the case of the corn today, most of it was well dented and the milk line was beginning to show on some of it."
The western leg followed a route from Nebraska City, Nebraska, to Spencer, Iowa, where scouts observed an increase in ear counts but a decrease in grain length and kernel rows from last year.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory commented, "It rained during our meeting in Spencer, Iowa. Not a lot, but enough to add some juice to this year's bean crop. But, the crop isn't going to add many pods from this point forward and there was already some moisture available to the crop to finish. Even a light rain each week between now and Sept. 20 will help the bean crop in the western part of the state. I know how good the Iowa corn is that the scouts on the eastern leg of the Tour will sample tomorrow, so I refuse to 'pass judgment on the Iowa corn crop until I see what Brian, Mark and the rest of the scouts sample on Thursday."
Western Tour Consultant Emily Carolan said, "The bean crop we toured through was an interesting one with better weed suppression than what the scouts saw in Nebraska, but still more than we've ever seen on the crop tour during the third week of August. The weeds are especially taller this year and seemed to have germinated immediately following a residual runout of the chem program a producer was using. Not only was waterhemp an issue, but giant and common ragweed was a common site in many fields."
Day four on the eastern leg will include stops from Iowa City, Iowa, to Rochester, Minnesota, and the western leg will trace routes from Spencer, Iowa, to meet up with the eastern leg in Rochester to share the final results from the same location.
As the 2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour continues, look to FarmJournalPro.com to give you perspective and commentary on this year's results. Click here for comparative analysis of 2017 Midwest Crop Tour results -- exclusive to Farm Journal Pro users.