Annual Midwest Crop Tour Sees Impact of Drought
By Jim Meadows
The annual crop tour of the Midwest held by the agricultural news service Pro Farmer is finding dramatic drops in corn and soybean yields from last year--and Illinois is no exception.
Pro Farmer analyst Brain Grete says they completed their survey of Illinois corn on Wednesday, and found an average corn yield of 121.6 bushels per acre. That’s better than the U-S Agriculture Department’s estimate of 116 bpa, but down 22 percent from the Pro Farmer tour’s Illinois estimate from last year.
Grete told Dave Dickey on WILL’s “Pre-Opening Market Report” Thursday that the corn crop appeared to be in better shape on the western side of the state. But even there, he says he saw many cases of “standability issues,” with corn stalks collapsing due to lack of moisture, forcing farmers to harvest early.
“I think that was probably the most glaring thing that we saw yesterday on the western side, was the standability and the stalk rot issues,” said Grete. “We did see a lot of combines out actively moving through fields. And it’s because of that standability issue, and they realize they need to get the crop before it hits the ground."
When it came to soybeans, the Pro Farmer crop tour’s estimate of Illinois pod counts was down 21 percent over last year (the Pro Farmer crop tour does not measure soybean yields, but instead averages the number of soybean pods in a 3-foot square area of land). By comparison, the USDA’s Aug. 1 estimate forecasted Illinois soybean yields at 37 bpa. Grete said he saw many soybean plants that had no pods on their bottom halves.
The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour showed similar declines for Indiana earlier this week. Grete says the Crop Tour estimated Indiana’s corn harvest projected at around 113.3 bushels per acre--a drop of nearly 21 percent from last year. As in Illinois, those yield estimates were above figures put out by the USDA. The pod count for Indiana soybeans averaged 1,033, down 9.2 percent from last year.