Day 3 Press Release: 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

By: Julianne Johnston

August  21,  2014

Pro-Farmer-trial.gifThe third day of the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official results from western Iowa and Illinois. Complete Iowa results will be released tonight along with Minnesota results. Western Iowa includes crop districts 1, 4 and 7, which revealed corn yield samples and pod counts above the three-year Tour averages for those districts. Illinois samples resulted in an average corn yield of 196.96 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,299.17 in a 3'x'3 square.

The eastern leg traced a route from Bloomington, Illinois, to Iowa City, Iowa, and found a corn crop that nearly lived up to expectations and an equally impressive bean crop.

Pro Farmer Editor and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted, "When the samples from all 12 eastern Tour routes were tabulated, the Illinois corn yield came in at 196.96 bu. per acre, up 15.5% from year-ago and 31.9% above the three-year Tour average. Illinois definitely has a very strong corn crop this year. In fact, it's the best corn crop I've ever seen for a state on Tour. But I don't think it's big enough to live up to the very lofty expectations that have been set. For soybeans, the average pod count in a 3'x3' square on my route through Illinois today came in at 1,178.4, with a low of 730.8 and a high of 1,560 pods. The fields we sampled basically looked the same from the road, but the pod counts were highly variable."

Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard said, "We sampled a high corn yield sample of 239 bu. bu. acre in McLean County right out of the chute and thundered along at over 200 bu. per acre on six of the ten samples we pulled. All in all the corn we sampled on this route gave the appearance of a very solid Illinois corn crop -- one that given the heavy rain that fell on us should be just about in the bin. The soybean crop was equally as impressive although there were some signs on our route that all was not as well as it could be. Any soil moisture problems were alleviated after today's thunderstorms. That said it could put this crop at greater risk for white mold although we saw none on our route today. Something we did see however was the development of SDS in half of our samples, one of which was definitely going to take a serious yield hit as a result."

The western leg followed a route from Nebraska City, Nebraska, to Spencer, Iowa, where scouts observed a resilient corn crop and a good soybean crop that has a little more work to do.

Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory commented, "Disease pressure is light and so is the pressure from the bugs in both the corn and soybean crops in western Iowa. And because we had mud on our boots for most of the day on the route that we ran, I can't say that moisture is a problem. That is not to say the crop in western Iowa was never stressed after a 30-day rain-free stretch during the important kernel-fill period, but it appears that temps were cool enough to allow the corn crop to build a yield and hold on to it long enough. This late shot of moisture is going to help the bean crop realize the potential we measured in western Iowa today. The beans will need to work to finish but all in all, is a good bean crop."

Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck said, " I was surprised to see how mediocre our yields were in our corn samples. Similar to the Nebraska City area, I noticed the crop in southern Iowa was in that late dough, early dent stage. Additionally, I was happy to see that the ear counts jumped in volume from what we dealt with in Nebraska. But as the day progressed, we struggled to find that break-out corn yield. Where we would often like to see six to nine beans in a cluster to give us adequate yields, I have been noticing many with just three to four per node. Additionally, I was excited to see that the level of water hemp was decreasing as we crossed the border and moved north through Iowa. Feeding from insects like green clover worm, grass hoppers, and green stink bugs are doing their best to reduce yields, but in reality even their numbers are much lower than we have seen in the past."

For More Information

See full coverage of the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.

Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer's Virtual Crop Tour.

Follow the Tour on Twitter with the hash tag #pftour14.