The Tale Of Two Illinois Corn Crops: One Great, One Awful

August 22, 2018 10:22 AM

If you talk to Richard Guse and Doug Miller, two farmer scouts from the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, you’re likely to get two very different pictures of the Illinois corn crop: one great and one awful. 

The route Guse was on Tuesday took him through three counties in Illinois, including McClain county which has long been regarded as a garden spot for corn yields. 

“We did not see very good corn for what you’d expect in Illinois,” he said. “For three counties in Illinois we averaged 166 on corn.”

According to Guse, the major issue was ear weight and very inconsistent ear counts. 

“This year there’s no weight to those ears,” he said. “We saw some good ear counts, but we saw a very inconsistent ear count. We were jumping form 89 up to 116, a very inconsistent ear count.”

Guse has been on the crop tour 14 times. While last year he felt the scouts underestimated the corn yield because of how slowly the crop was maturing, this year he fears the opposite will be true. 

“This year I’m afraid we will over estimate the crop because the weight just isn’t in those kernels,” he said . “Part of [the problem] is pollination issues. The plants there but it’s doesn’t have any kernels that we could count, so it’s a zero as far as an ear count.”

Miller, an Iowa farmer and veteran Crop Tour scout, saw pretty much the exact opposite. 

“I was on the southern part of Vermillion, Champaign , Mc Clain and I was into Ford County,” he said. “In Vermillion we had a couple yields at 230, and McClain we were 246 and in ford we had one in the low 200.”

Unlike, Guse, everything Miller saw showed good, consistent ear counts. 

“This Illinois corn crop is going to be a good corn crop, but after talking to other scouts, there’s holes in this crop but there is a lot of good corn out there,” Miller says. 

According to Guse, the crop tour has proven time and time again that it’s hard to get great yields when there isn’t consistency. 

“In previous years when we’ve talked about that, we had a slow finish so the corn crop kept getting bigger the kernels kept getting deeper,” he says. “This crop, it’s mature and we’re not going to have that luxury this year.” 


Watch as the tour routes through Illinois continue throughout the day to get a broader picture of what the state’s corn crop could look like. 

Back to news


Spell Check

Mark Vogel
St. Louis, MO
8/22/2018 01:55 PM

  There is no McClain County -- the correct spelling is McLean.

Douglas Street
Newton, KS
8/22/2018 12:24 PM

  fast maturing crop, some brutally hot weather, drought, equates to restrained production and yet price is still below cost of production. Imagine how cheap the stuff will be when everyone gets ideal weather. One alternative is, the growers cut production in exchange for better program benefits.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer