Midwest Crop Tour Findings: Day 3

August 20, 2008 07:00 PM
2008 John Deere Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

The Illinois corn crop is under achieving for not-very obvious reasons. Meanwhile, preliminary observations in portions of Iowa find a crop not meeting expectations, according to data gathered by experienced crop scouts on this week’s Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

In Illinois, Tour participants measured corn yields at an average of 166.94 bushels per acre based on 161 samples. This compares to a 176.65 bu. per acre yield measured by the Tour in 2007.

USDA's August prediction for Illinois was 172 bushels per acre. Our in-field results suggest the government was shooting too high.

Eastern tour director and Pro Farmer senior editor, Roger Bernard, observes, "Illinois is running ahead of Indiana and Ohio on maturity, but a week behind what we normally have seen in past years. We are seeing a lot of variability in grain length, with some tip back."

In fact, ear length may partly explain why Wednesday's Illinois yield estimate dropped 5.5% from the Tour's findings in 2007. Ear length measured less this time.

On soybeans, Illinois Tour participants found an average of 1,299.70 pods per 3' x 3' square, compared to 1,297.7 measured by the 2007 Tour. The average pod count came from 133 samples collected by participants.

According to Eastern Tour Crop Consultant, Mark Bernard, "Most of the soybean crop is thundering right along, with few blooms left. We encountered some replanted areas, but overall our impression of Illinois soybeans is pretty good."

Preliminary corn observations in Iowa indicate the western part of the state has corn about two weeks behind in maturity. Western tour director and Pro Farmer editor, Chip Flory, believes an October 1 frost would nip at yields. "We're finding good plant health, but fields running short of nitrogen, especially on the hilltops. It's not perfect out here, but corn has done a heck of a job recovering from its rough start. We pulled some 200-bushel plus samples Wednesday."

Still, findings did not live up to expectations, proving a little disappointing compared to past years. Many fields were compromised from the beginning. Heavy spring rains obviously led to denitrification. Corn developed a shallow root system with abundant soil moisture. Now that it has turned dry, the crop doesn't have enough nutrients to develop normally. This condition is starting to pinch the potential in many western Iowa fields, according to field scouts.

Preliminary soybean observations in Iowa: Severe aphid infestations noted in a number of southwestern fields sampled. Soil moisture improved as scouts moved northward toward their overnight in Spencer. Most fields were done blooming and working on pod fill. All need timely rains-- soon.

The eastern portion of Iowa will be sampled Thursday before statewide conclusions will be reached.

The western leg of the four-day Tour moves on to sample portions of western and southern Minnesota today while the eastern Tour routes will take scouts into portions of northern Iowa and southern Minnesota fields, merging in Austin, Minnesota this evening.

Following are links to final data gathered for Illinois by the Tour on Day Three:

Results table for Illinois.

Links to earlier results from other Tour states:

Results tables for Indiana.

Results tables for Nebraska.

Results tables for Ohio.

Results tables for South Dakota.


About Pro Farmer

Professional Farmers of America was founded in 1973 to provide America's leading farmers with a competitive edge in marketing and financial management. The organization delivers timely and accurate market news and analysis through paid subscription newsletters, seminars and online services.

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