The story so far from this year’s Pro Farmer Crop Tour is the urgency for moisture pretty soon to save what could be a big corn crop. Tip Back is already showing itself in many parts of Indiana and Illinois and if the already gaping cracks in the ground get much bigger, issues of stalk quality will also come into play and the heavy numbers being seen this week will deteriorate in quick fashion.
Today my chauffeur is Brian Grete, a market analyst with Pro Farmer. There are many reasons that riding with Brian is one of the highlights of my week. For one, the Iowa boy likes country music. I am pretty sure if there weren’t two other people in the truck we would have the windows rolled down and howl…I mean sing at the top of our lungs. Secondly, Brian is knowledgeable about what is going on in the field and on the trading floor in Chicago. The CBOT and this Tour pay close attention to each other all week and that perspective is intriguing. Third, we will be rolling through Grete’s stomping grounds and he knows some pretty slick shortcuts through some of the most remote locales in the Hawkeye State. Should be a fun one.
A great looking morning just south of Bloomington as we check our first corn and bean fields. These soils have seen a little rain more recently than yesterday’s fields. The soybeans were very young but showed many potential pods in the weeks to come. That is why the pod count was so low here. Tip Back was noticed in the corn field.
Tazewell County, Illinois was our next stop and the crops all around this area look head and shoulders above what many scouts saw on yesterday’s routes. As Brian Grete put it, this farmer had baseball bats in his corn field. The beans, even being 30 inch rows, we hard to navigate through. So far our average yield guess for the first 2 fields is over 200 bushels. The average pod count for a 3 foot square is 600 with a 900 on the second field.
After we crossed the Illinois River we found a field to sample in Peoria County. By far, this is the worst field I have come across this week. You can see in the video below that this corn has had pollination issues from the start, plus this was a corn on corn field as well. To put it into perspective, this fields projected yield is 113. The soybeans were on an above average pace, with a pod count of 1247.
In Fulton County we continue to see situations where the planter didn’t get out until much later due to a wet spring in this area. The size of these ears tell the story. The beans still had some blooms so both of these fields are in the same boat.
Sorry for the delay, but we had to count all of the pods in our sample from the Knox County, Illinois soybean field. This plot of 10 inch rows did not disappoint coming in with a pod count of 2899. The corn was not that good with a yield estimate of 118.
For our second stop in Knox County, Illinois it is time to play “Name That Bug”. This little guy was having lunch in the bean field we sampled and I can’t say that I have seen one like him before. If you can help our crew out, email me at Ty@OhioAgNet.com.
These beans were very deeply rooted and looked very healthy. Our pod count was 1368 in a 3 x 3 square. The corn continues to struggle in the west central part of the state. Out guess for yield is 125.
Our last stop before lunch is in Henry County, Illinois and another good field of soybeans. These were in 15 inch rows but the planter needs some work as there were many spots that it looked like 30 inch rows. For a 3 x 3 area we calculated 1459 which is right about average. The corn was just average as well with a yield estimate of just over 150 bushels to the acre.
Our final stop for the state of Illinois was our second sample in Henry County. The beans and corn was starting to wilt up a bit as temperatures and humidity was starting to rise. The soybean pod count was a respectable 1036. The corn was right in the ballpark of average for the day, but one of the better ones we’ve come across in awhile. The key for Illinois will be getting some rain in the short term to keep the current yields in the field.
I figure we might find some corn here somewhere as we crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Iowa. My navigating expertise has been taken over by our driver Brian Grete, who is an Iowa native. We took a sample in Scott County and the beans were not tall and not filled out as much as earlier fields, but they were very healthy and came in at over 1700 pods. Corn in Iowa was better than Illinois as far as plant health and planting date were concerned. Grain length were short and the ears weren’t too robust but our yield estimate is 192. We did see some rootworm beetle for the first time this week.
There has been concern with standability issues due to the onslaught of moisture through this part of the Corn Belt after planting. You can take a look at the video and see how these stalks were affected. Yield here is guessed at 167 and soybean pod count was 843.
Our last check of the day came in Johnson County, Iowa and the beans were short all the way though the field but the first pod was almost at ground level and the amount of pods were impressive. Corn showed some signs of disease pressure, but that aside looked strong.
Corn – 170.48 bu/ac
Soybeans – 1115.97 pods in a 3 ft square