As the Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour makes its first round of corn and soybean checks today, several long-time tour scouts weighed in with Farm Journal editors on what they expect to see.
Mark Bernard, a crop consultant with Agro Economics, covers a seven-county area in south-central Minnesota. He’s pulled preliminary estimates and projects strong corn yields in his area. “Some better and worse, but I’d say we’re on track for a 190- to 210-bu. range,” he says.
With cool weather over the past two weeks, Bernard also has concerns: “We’ve had plenty of moisture and things have been cool. I guess it makes me a little bothered about crop maturity and the chance of an early frost.”
Bernard has been participating in the Crop Tour for three years. “Crop Tour is the first boots-on-the-ground look at what‘s really in the fields and we’re the first to take measurements,” he explains. “It’s also great to meet so many people and make friends from all over the world.”
Dick Overby, a crop consultant with Rain and Hail, LLC, in Kenyon, Minn., says his area of the Gopher State has potential for a fine corn and soybean crop, despite weather hitches during the growing season. Overby cautions that some corn is still in the early dough stage and some soybeans are still at R4.
“Things look exceptionally good and we could have 200 bu. corn and 60 bu. beans if we finish,” he says.
Overby has participated in Crop Tour since 2006: “I thoroughly enjoy the people I meet, and there’s so much information available.”
In Iowa, Brent Judisch says he anticipates the crop around his farm outside Cedar Falls will produce between 10- and 15-bushels less per acre than last year. That sounds like a downer until Judisch explains.
“Even so, the corn is very good,” says Judisch, who notes his crop averaged approximately 220-bu. per acre in 2016. So, he’s still looking at corn yields reaching the 205-bu. to 210-bu range.
“I’ve been doing some yield tests and the yields will still be better than our five-year average,” Judisch anticipates.
As for soybeans, Judisch says the cool month of May put their growth behind schedule. “Don’t get me wrong, they look good, we’re just behind seven to 10 days,” he says. “We’ve had a little rain lately, so that’s a big positive,” he adds. This is Judisch’s fourth year to participate as a driver for the Crop Tour.
In Ohio, 16-year veteran driver for the Crop Tour, Bill Bayliss, says he’s looking at a real solid corn crop on his home farm near West Mansfield, Ohio.
“We had to replant, and while it’s not our best corn ever we got good stands and we’ll shell out a lot of corn this fall,” he says. Bayliss notes that he expects the crop will produce 175 bu. to 180 bu. per acre on average.
For soybeans, Bayliss says the crop got hammered by water after spring planting. “They’re very uneven beans, but they’re podded better than I expected,” he notes. “I’m going to say they’ll be at least average—about 45 to 50 bushel per acre.”