From the Rows with Brian Grete
Day 3 of the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw scouts fan out on routes through northern, central and western Illinois to see if there were enough bushels out there to offset the disappointing results from the eastern portion of the state. While scouts found many more instances of good crops on Day 3, there were still plenty of disappointments.
On my route through Tazewell, Peoria, Knox, Warren, Mercer and Rock Island counties in Illinois, we had an average corn yield estimate of 160 bu. per acre, with a low of 121.2 bu. and a high of 200 bu. per acre. Ear counts were up considerably from my samplings on the first two days of Tour, but plant stress was a limiting factor when it came to grain length.. Once we moved into the eastern Iowa counties of Scott, Muscatine and Cedar, conditions were noticeably better -- both plant health and soil moisture (especially after an inch-plus rain Tuesday). Our corn yield in eastern Iowa came in at 184.7 bu. per acre, with a low of 168.4 and a high of 205.3 bu. per acre. Ear pops weren't much different than we found in west-central Illinois, but grain length improved.
For soybeans, my route showed an average pod count in a 3' x 3' square of 1327.3 in west-central Illinois, with a low of 896 and a high of 2133.9. In eastern Iowa, our pod count averaged 1356.58. The soybeans in both areas were generally healthier and more podded than I had seen the first two days of Tour.
The Tour average for the Illinois corn crop came in at 155.99 bu. per acre, which was down 6.3% from last year's findings. USDA estimated the Illinois corn crop at 170 bu. per acre as of Aug. 1 -- up 8.3% from 2010. For perspective, the USDA figure was up from a "low" production figure last year, while our comparison to year-ago was based off what was a crop that still had good finish potential with the right conditions at this time last year, although the finish turned out to be poor. That somewhat narrows the spread. The final Illinois soybean pod count in a 3' x 3' square came in at 1196.04, down 8.6% from the 2010 Tour. USDA estimated soybean production down 6.8% from year-ago in August.
Day 4 of the eastern leg of the Tour will see scouts sampling fields from Iowa City, IA, to Austin, MN, where we will meet up with scouts from the western leg of the Tour.
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2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour