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Growing Season Weather Swings Evident in Crops

22:32PM Aug 22, 2017

Count pods on three plants.( Sara Schafer )

Throughout Farm Journal’s Midwest Crop Tour on Monday and Tuesday, the common theme was variability. Not only variability within crops, but variability of crop conditions within regions. According to Dan Hueber of the Hueber Report, some places in Southeast South Dakota on one side of the road there’s great corn and on the other side of the road the beans look terrible.

“If I had to make a general consensus I’d say corn yields are a little bit worse than people thought and beans are a little bit better,” he said.

Huber said some years the daily findings of the Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour don’t impact the market, but this year they could.

“A year ago when the nation looked gorgeous [the tour] was probably taken with a grain of salt,” he said on Market Rally Tuesday. “This year this market is starved for news.”

Crop Tour news is helping temper bearishness following the USDA report last week, Hueber said.

Field Findings

Brian Grete is on the Eastern leg of the Crop Tour, where scouts have also seen a lot of variability. On Market Rally today he told Davis Michaelson what they found on his route today in Indiana is far more consistent than what was seen in Ohio yesterday. But like Crop Tour scouts have indicated in other regions, the condition of corn and soybeans is variable in Indiana too.

“If we found an area where the corn was good, a lot of times the soybeans weren’t so good,” he said. “What’s good for one, isn’t always good for the other.”

According to Grete, in a year where the weather throughout the growing season is consistent, corn and soybeans would also be consistent. “When you get into a year with wild swings like we’ve had, that’s where you get those [variants],” he said.

Grete’s main concern after getting out in the field? Soil moisture.

“The bean crop is going to need some late season rains,” he said. “The rains are going to need to be timely.”

Chip Flory is leading the Western leg of the Crop Tour. On Market Rally today Flory said the Nebraska soybeans are struggling.

“We’re not finding that many pods, at least not on my route today,” he said.

According to Flory, the heat and dry conditions in Nebraska should have been the right stress at the right time for the soybean crop, but his samples are suggesting ordinary or less than ordinary yields.

“I’m a little confused about the Nebraska beans right now,” he said.  

On the corn front, Flory said Nebraska’s irrigated corn is good, not great, and the dryland corn on his route is not as good as last year.

“The pressure and the stress in the dryland corn has intensified as we head to the East,” he said.

The western leg of the tour scouts Western Iowa Wednesday, while the eastern leg looks at crops in Illinois and Southeast Iowa. Both legs meet in Minnesota on Thursday.