End of the Trail

August 19, 2009 07:00 PM

Greg Vincent, Top Producer Editor
  • Iowa Average Crop Tour Corn Yield: 181; 7.5% higher than 2008
  • Minnesota Average Crop Tour Corn Yield: 185; 4% higher than 2008
  • Iowa Pod Counts: 1,197, 9% higher than 2008
  • Minnesota Pod Counts: 984; 19% higher than 2008
The end result from the 2009 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is this: the western Corn Belt is looking at a bin buster. In the east, the crop is not a bin buster by their standards, but it has potential. Mother nature just needs to keep the frost at bay for another 60 days or so.
Chip Flory, Pro Farmer editor and western tour leader says he is very impressed by the crop in Iowa, but he does have some maturity concerns for the corn crop. The crop, which is behind compared to most years, will surely shrink as dry-down happens.
Overall the total crop figures from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour are on target with USDA estimates on August 1, Flory says. The difference will be in where those numbers are gathered. Coming out of the tour, he expects the western Corn Belt numbers to be 500,000 bu. higher than USDA reported in its report earlier this month. However, he says you can probably just as easily shave off the same bushel count from the eastern Corn Belt.
"There are some tip back issues in Iowa. There are some holes in the crop. Regardless, we're looking at a crop that is somewhere between 181 and 185 bushels in Iowa. It's a record crop and that's wonderful.”
The biggest concern Flory has about the corn crop in general, and specifically in Illinois, is the maturity of the crop. He says there are some very late fields and the yield potential that is there will be extremelty difficult to achieve. "Let's face it, we're not going to get the 175 bu./acre USDA projected in its August 1 estimate.”
In Illinois the results were probably better than expected, but there due to plant populations. "They put more seeds out there, but they ended up with a lower ear count. The ear count is actually down from last year, even though we know they planted more seeds out there.”

Waukon, Iowa, commodity broker with PCI Advisory Services, Lou Arens, says he was disappointed by the Illinois crop this year, driven mainly by the weather. "Disease was not as much as I expected in both corn and soybeans. It all comes down to Mother Nature now and when she gives us a frost."
First year crop scout Loren Schweer, a farmer from Denver, Iowa, was impressed by the differences of the crop condition in the varying parts of the Western Tour Leg. The biggest difference he noticed across the tour segment that stretched ran through South Dakota, Nebraska, western Iowa and Southern Minnesota was in crop condition variance and stand counts. "Day one was really variable. Day two, through Nebraska there was improvement. Day three from south to north through central Iowa, I noticed the difference in soil. Conditions improved as we went north because there is better ground. I thought the corn today in Minnesota was consistently good all day. Our test, out of nine samples, showed a yield of 199. There was little variance in the fields we sampled.”
"If I learned one thing this week, it confirmed for me that consistency and accuracy of population is so important,” he says. "You can't replace it. There is no way you can replace the picket fence The better fields I saw this week, no matter where I was, the first thing I noticed was they all had consistent spacing between the seed. When that happened and plant populations were pushed, we saw better potential yields.” 
"The thing I learned on the crop tour this week is, I think it will make me a better farmer. Coming back home, I know I will pay more attention to the details. I went in over one hundred fields this week, and I saw the difference that population and consistent placement of seed can mean. I'm looking forward to taking the rope and tape measure to my fields and comparing to what I saw to what I have.”
"I believe any farmer should come on this tour. You'll come out of this week with new friends and incredible knowledge you can take back home. Come on this tour with an open mind and come to learn. Take advantage of these people, whether it be other farmers or brokers and be willing to share your knowledge with reporters from the financial world that may have never been in a corn field. Because their knowledge can help us as farmers. In my opinion, they are really good people. I can't wait for next year; I'll recommend it to all my farming friends.”

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