The western leg of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour saw variability last night in Iowa, and again today in southern Minnesota. As expected, both days had their surprises.
“[In southwest Minnesota] it’s a pretty big range,” says Jeff Wilson, Pro Farmer senior market analyst and leader of the western leg of the Tour. “230 down to 93 bu. per acre.”
In the 230 bu. field, ear length was good and populations adequate, but the crop didn’t have quite the girth it needed with fewer kernel rows around. He thinks yield was nicked a little by stress and could have otherwise achieved 250 bu. per acre.
“We saw some of the same story [today that] we saw in the northern part of Iowa yesterday,” Wilson says. “There’s black spots in these soybean fields and we can see there’s nitrogen loss in the cornfields. They’re kind of running out of gas.”
Soybeans in parts of Iowa revealed what’s hidden in many of the state’s corn fields: acres and acres of ponding water.
“[It looked like] there was a fair number of new lakefront property developments in some of those fields unfortunately,” Wilson says. “I knew there would be some problems, but there were a lot more ponds and they were bigger [than I thought].”
So even with high pod and ear counts farther south in the state, the fields might not actually yield as high as samples suggest because the farmer lost those acres to ponding.
“[Yesterday in Iowa] the biggest surprise was in the soybeans,” Wilson says. “The southwest area right above where all the drought is in Missouri and Kansas ended up with a pod could [of] 1445—a 27% increase [over 2017].”
It just proves that you can see positive reactions from soybeans when they’re under stress, he continues. They also seemed to get little splashes of rain that seemed to help the plants along. The other districts the team visited last night performed well too, up 8.7% and 9.7% over a year ago. Pod counts drove these increases. However, not every county showed this blockbuster improvement.
“I was up in the northern sections, district one, and we had a lot of pretty poor fields that we counted up there,” Wilson says. “We averaged just 900 [pods per square] yesterday. So, the average for the district was 1082.”
He said soybeans looked like they were planted late and never really got to catch up in the Northwest part of the state. But, farmers who got planted early could grow 200 bu. corn and really good soybeans. But those that got caught in the middle of a two-and-a-half-week rain delay suffered.