(Spencer, Iowa) – Western Iowa's corn and soybean crops are a mixed bag this year based on the latest survey data from the western leg of Pro Farmer's Midwest Crop Tour.
Crop scouts journeying through the western third of the stated noted disappointing crop conditions in the southwestern region that gave way to impressive yield potential in the northwestern region.
The main concern for the crop in western Iowa is the dearth of moisture – particularly in the southwestern areas, tour participants say.
Chip Flory, tour leader and editor of Pro Farmer, voiced his concerns over the recent lack of rainfall at the tour's meeting in Spencer, Iowa.
"We turned this corn and bean crop into a rain addict. It had a rain every three days, now we shut it off,” Flory said of the overabundant rainfall earlier in the season. "That worries me more than just a little bit.”
Corn yields in the southwest corner of the state were estimated at 165.7 bushels/acre, down from last year's tour projection for the region of 152.0, while soybean pod counts in the three-foot by three-foot area averaged 1,160.4 pods, down from 1,255.6 pods measured last year.
Jim Kimmel, corn and soybean producer from Lawrence, Kan., who traveled through the poorer regions of southwest Iowa, also said crop health in the area was of concern.
"The corn crop didn't have that dark, rich green color,” Kimmel says. "There was quite a bit of yellow.”
However, Tour participants agreed that crop conditions improved dramatically as they traveled northward.
In the west-central region of Iowa, corn yield was estimated at 174.6 bushels/acre, an improvement from last year's estimate for the region of 166.7 bushels/acre. Soybean pod counts of 1,088.1 pods, though, were down from last year of 1,177.8 pods.
In the northwest corner of Iowa, corn yields were projected to improve to 174.7 bushels/acre, up from 161.9 bushels/acre last year, while soybean pod counts were tallied at 1,043.8 pods, up from 990.1 pods recorded in 2007.
Thursday, the western leg of the Crop Tour will meet the eastern leg in Austin, Minn., where all tour data will be compiled with Pro Farmer analysts scheduled to release crop estimates for both the corn and soybean crops the following morning.