Pro Farmer Crop Tour: "Give me a Frost Date, I Can Give You a Yield"

Posted on 08/23/2019 5:06 PM

by Tyne Morgan

As scouts set of searching Iowa farm fields, they were greeted by a crop better than what they saw in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

“It was up to my waist, so that’s some of the best soybeans we’ve seen,” said Peter Meyer, with S&P Global Platts who served as a Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour eastern leg scout this week.

Meyer came across a crop that was good compared to a disappointing start to the eastern leg of Crop Tour, but a soybean crop with which he wasn’t overly impressed.

“Just looking at it, I can’t say I’m going to get 100 pods out of these plants, which is what we sometimes see on 30 inch rows in Iowa,” he said.

Meyer left Iowa City Thursday morning expecting to see better fields than he’d seen all week.

“I think for this part of Iowa in the past, it’s kinds of average,” said Meyer. “But then again when you compare to what we’ve seen in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, it’s pretty darn good.”

Average for Iowa in a year that was anything but average. However, pockets of Iowa struggled more than others. A

“There’s no question about it; it definitively gets better as you move farther north in the state,” said Meyer. “Yesterday we came across soybeans in the southwestern corner of Iowa only producing 14 pods, 15 pods or even 20 pods.”

Julie Edmonds is in Sperry, Iowa. Her biggest concern is now the weather this fall.

“I worry the crop isn’t going to be at the stage it needs to be before a frost would hit,” said Edmonds. “We need all the time we can get before for a frost hits.”

Frost fears are sprouting worries about shallow kernels and test weights, even though she’s cautiously optimistic about the yield potential taking root.  

“We’re not going to see the yields that we had last year; however, it's going to be better than what we anticipated,” said Edmonds.

Frost is also a fear for Meyer, and a variable making it hard to peg yield in the state today.

“You give me a frost date, I can give you a yield,” said Meyer. “At this point, it’s anybody’s guess.”

Local Pioneer agronomists say a normal frost would mean most of the state’s crop will finish in time, but an early frost could cut the crop’s life short this year, having an impact on final overall yield.

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