PRO FARMER MIDWEST CROP TOUR STATE RESULTS...
Ohio corn yield: 110.5 bu./acre, 156.26 bu./acre in 2011, 3-year avg. 160.53 bu.
Ohio bean pod count in 3'X3' square: 1,033.72, 1,253.21 in 2011, 3-year avg. 1,240.85.
South Dakota corn yield: 74.26 bu./acre, 141.1 bu./acre in 2011, 3-year avg. 143.88 bu.
South Dakota pod count in 3'X3' square: 584.93, 1,106.66 in 2011, 3-year avg. 1,116.87.
PRELIMINARY DAY 2 OBSERVATIONS FROM THE CROP TOUR... The eastern leg of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Fishers, Indiana, and travels to Bloomington, Illinois. The western leg of the Tour began in Grand Island, Nebraska, and travels to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Tonight, final results Indiana and Nebraska will be released on www.profarmer.com. Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory has sampled in the Nebraska counties of Clay, Filmore, Saline and Gage (District 9) and York (District 6) counties. In eight stops in those counties this morning, Chip reports yield samples of (bu. per acre): 198, 243, 156, 118, 271, 197, 68 and 179. He says all but the third and seventh sample are irrigated. This morning's corn yield average of 179 bu. per acre compares to last year's state average of 153.7 bu. per acre, but Chip says he's quickly driving out of the irrigated area and will pulling more dryland samples this afternoon, which will pull his route average down the rest of the day. "We've seen the best we're going to see today," he says.
Chip says the non-irriaged corners of his best field this morning had already been chopped for silage, "which is a clear picture of what irrigation can do for the corn crop in Nebraska."
On his route, soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square were 1,004, 757, 1,020, 1,352, 692, 537, 318 and 1,295, with the first, fourth and last sample being from irrigated fields. "Pod counts are better than yesterday, but we're still finding pod counts down 20% from year-ago," says Chip. "So even though we've got give irrigated samples that are helping us out, they still aren't helping enough to build the pod factory close to year ago."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck has pulled samples in the Nebraska counties of Hall, Buffalo (District 5), Kearney, Adams (District 8), Clay, Fillmore and Saline (District 9). He reports corn yield samples ranged from 95.3 bu. to 233.9 bu. per acre with an average around 157 bushels. "The irrigated corn was really good, with no tipback, and plant health was uniform with no stalk issues," he says. "What we expect to see in irrigated ground year to year is what we saw today. For whatever reason, we averaged 200 bu. per acre in the first irrigated fields. I liked the kernel depth in the irrigated fields, which will equate to a better test weight. I did notice some issues like spider mites and corn aphids in dryland fields, as well as stalk quality issues."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square ranged from 417 to 1,798, with an average around 1,105 pods. "Soybeans were also green and healthy, with a lot in the R5 stage. Irrigated fields saw good pod counts and bean size. But once you get out of the irrigated fields, you see a crop that is quickly moving closer to harvest and more aborted pods. But overall the beans weren't as aborted as yesterday," he reports.
Eastern Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete has sampled in the Indiana counties of Hamilton, Tipton (District 5), Tippecanoe, Warren (District 4) and Benton (District 1). He reports an average corn yield on this route this morning of 133.3 bu. per acre, with a range of 80.3 bu. to 210 bu. per acre. "We finally ran into some good fields, but it was hit and miss on the corn samples. It looked a little bit better than I anticipated in some fields, as a lot of the soil is tacky; I've got some mud on my boots this morning," says Brian. "We talked to one farmer as we crossed into Illinois and he reported some rains, but farther west it was looking ragged again to represent this season's scattered rainfall."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square averaged 958.7 on his morning report, with a range of 583 to 1,700 pods. "Those didn't match up with the corn yields," says Brian. "Where we had a good corn yield we didn't necessarily have a good pod count. Several of the worst pod counts were in areas where we sampled better corn yield and vise versa. We ran into a stretch of hail damage in Tippacanoe county," he says.
Brian says conditions have been worse for both the corn and soybean crops as his route moves into eastern Illinois.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard has sampled in the Indiana counties of Wabash, Kosciusko, Fulton (District 2), Paluski, Jasper and Newton (District 1). The range of corn samples on his route this morning is from 0 bu. to 188 bu. per acre, with an average of around 89 bu. per acre. "There is a lot of irrigation up here, and where it's dryland, it's really poor," says Mark. "We saw some earworms munching on some of the ears and pretty much poor pollination and variablity within fields and from field to field. We are still seeing some pretty good corn scattered in it, but this is about as much of a mixed bag as I've ever seen."
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square range from 204 to 1,724, with an average around 1,100 pods. "We've seen some really good fields of soybeans, but where you get into the dryland, you get clipped real quick. Very few pods in the short non-irrigated crop. There isn't enough time for soybeans to improve much if it rains."
CONSULTANT LEAVES CORN, SOYBEAN CROP ESTIMATES UNCHANGED... Crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier has left his yield estimates of the U.S. corn and soybean crops unchanged from last week, but says he maintains a "slightly negative" bias toward the crops. He pegs the national average corn yield at 123.0 bu. per acre for a crop of 10.21 billion bu. and the national soybean yield at 36.0 bu. per acre for a crop of 2.63 billion bushels.
Dr. Cordonnier says the weather has been a mixed bag for the soybean crop, with crops maturing rapidly where rains have been a disappointment. "Some of these pods might still fill if they continue to receive rainfall, but there is a strong possibility that there will be a greater number of pods than normal with less than three seeds per pod and the seed size will be smaller than average as well," he says.
MARTELL: MUCH-NEEDED RELIEF ON ITS WAY TO KANSAS... According to the Kansas NASS Field Office, as of Sunday, topsoil moisture was 72% very short, 24% short, 4% adequate and 0% surplus. The report also notes the worst corn, soybean and sorghum condition ratings since data began in 1985.
But meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says there are chances for some drought relief in the High Plains in the five-day forecast. "If El Nino develops, rainfall chances should improve in the Southern Great Plains. El Nino winters are very wet, due to an active sub-tropical jet stream," she says. "Waves of showers would develop in the Southern Plains, particularly Texas and Oklahoma. Kansas often is wet, but not always," Martell continues.
MORE SIGNS HIGH PRICES ARE CURBING CORN, WHEAT DEMAND... Signs of destruction due to rocketing corn prices continue to mount. The Bank of Mexico reports the country's wheat imports hit a new record of $741 million, or 3.13 million metric tons (MMT), the first half of 2012. That compares to the 2008 record of $637 million. GCMA, a Mexican ag market consultancy, attributes the rise to surging corn prices.
Meanwhile, Iran today turned to the European Union, Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions in its purchases of 400,000 metric tons of milling wheat for September shipment. This adds to a list of those turning to cheaper alternatives to U.S. wheat on the global export market. As a feed alternative, wheat has rallied along with corn much of the year.
U.S./CANADIAN CATTLE INVENTORY DOWN 2%, HOG INVENTORY UP 1%... A joint effort between USDA's NASS and Statistics Canada shows combined cattle and calves at 111.3 million head on July 1, 2012, down 2% from a year-ago. Meanwhile, combined hogs and pigs for June 2012 of 78.7 million head were up 1% from last year.
EPA REQUESTS SPECIFIC COMMENTS... In "First Thing Today" we reported the EPA posted a notice in the Federal Registry opening a 30-day public comment period on a waiver request from several governors regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard. Specifically, EPA requests comments on the following information (though not limited to):
Whether compliance with the RFS would severely harm the economy of Arkansas, North Carolina, other States, a region, or the United States;
Whether the relief requested will remedy the harm;
To what extent, if any, a waiver would change demand for ethanol and affect prices of corn, other feedstocks, feed, and food;
The amount of ethanol that is likely to be consumed in the U.S. during the relevant time period, based on its value to refiners for octane and other characteristics and other market conditions in the absence of the RFS volume requirements; and
If a waiver were appropriate, the amount of required renewable fuel volume appropriate to waive, the date on which any waiver should commence and end, and to which compliance years it would apply.