2011 Midwest Crop Tour: Day 4


By Katic Micik, DTN Staff Reporter

AUSTIN, Minn. (DTN) — Scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw a highly variable corn crop, with some fields showcasing their 200-bushel-plus per acre potential and more showing damage from a wet, delayed planting season followed by a “flash drought.”

Scouts estimate Iowa corn yields at 164.6 bpa, a 2.8{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} drop from last year’s 169.4 bpa. The tour pegged Minnesota’s corn yield at 175.9 bushels per acre down 5{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} from 185.5 last year. Over the past four days, scouts sampled corn and soybean fields in seven states to gather the raw data Pro Farmer uses to calculate its corn yield estimate, which will be released on Friday after the markets close.

“Iowa was lower than we expected. We hoped to see increased production to help offset what we saw in the east, but that didn’t happen,” said Brian Grete, organizer of the eastern leg of the tour and Pro Farmer’s senior market analyst. “The big question is how much downside potential is there to USDA’s estimates?”

Corn yields were down across the board, with Indiana’s average coming in 14{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} below last year’s estimate at 143.1 bpa. Illinois was down 6.3{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} at 155.99 bpa year over year; Ohio down 6{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} at 156.26 bpa; South Dakota down 1.8{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} at 141.1 bpa; and Nebraska down 3{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} at 153.7.

The average of the state’s estimates was 155.8 bpa compared to USDA’s August estimate of 153 bpa.

Scouts on this year’s tour joked that it was really a corn tour. Soybean counts were down slightly, but scouts saw almost no disease pressures and a crop in need of a drink. That didn’t seem like much to discuss when corn had tipback issues that were more prominent in Iowa, late emergence that cut yields in Ohio and Indiana and pollination issues in Illinois.

Iowa’s average pod count in a 3-foot square came in at 1,221.9 pods, down from last year’s 1,347.5. Minnesota’s estimate was 1,124down from last year’s 1,239.8. Pod counts across the board were down. Illinois’ count was 1,196; Nebraska’s 1,286.5; Ohio’s 1,253.2; Indiana’s 1,137.6; and South Dakota at 1,106.6.

“The thing that scares me,” Overby said, “Beans in Ohio and Indiana didn’t get enough rain. I don’t think they have the potential to come close to what they should.” He thinks the soybean crop will be lower than some expect and could help futures break out of their sideways price trend.

Scouts on the western leg said they didn’t see anything in corn or soybeans that would compensate for the yield drop on the eastern leg.

Scouts on Dick Overby’s route saw more consistent tip-back than the previous three days. Moisture conditions varied across the state, but the effect of this summer’s heat wave was undeniable.

“Corn was an improvement today over what we saw on the on the first two days in Ohio and Indiana. Still it won’t meet normal expectations,” he said. Overby thinks acres harvest for grain are much lower than USDA expects, perhaps with corn acres as low as 78 million acres. “With the flooding, harvest in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas for silage and acres in North Dakota that just aren’t going to make grain. Nothing we saw today is going to make up for that.” Overby said with the incredible variability within fields, between fields in the same county and fields in different states, it’s going to difficult to replenish low domestic stocks. He believes yields will be down 10{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} to 15{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} across the board.

His route in Iowa today saw yields in the 210 bpa range with their lowest estimates around 140 bpa.

Marty Tegtmeier, farmer and scout from Sumner, Iowa, saw some pretty respectable yields across southern Minnesota, despite some really dry fields. “Some corn fields were obviously planted late and some were very dry, but overall a respectable crop. But an early frost could hurt a few fields that are immature right now.”

His group scouted 15 fields that averaged 191.5 bushels per acre. Their tour took them through these counties: Nobles (180 and 206 bpa); Murray (210 and 160 bpa); Cottonwood (167 and 186 bpa); Watonwan (190 bpa); Martin (198 and 158 bpa); Faribault (158 bpa); Blue Earth (129 and 279 bpa); Waseca (202 bpa); Steele (222 bpa); and Mower (197 bpa). Soybeans on this southern Minnesota route produced a range in pods from 871 to 1,355.

The group was amazed by the 279 bushel-per-acre field in Blue Earth County, saying it was the thickest corn they had ever seen. It had 131 ears in 60 feet of row on a 20-inch row spacing. However, 15 miles down the road was a parched field of 129 bpa, featuring two-inch-wide cracks in the soil.

“I think variability is probably the key word,” Grete said. “We saw some of the good, some of the bad and some of the ugly.”


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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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