Crop Tour: Inconsistency Plagues Illinois Crops

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“There’s too much variability in the crop. Within fields and field-to-field, too,” he says. “It’s really hard to build a crop with variability.” ( Farm Journal )

Scouts on the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour made their way through Illinois today. Brian Grete, leader of the eastern leg and Pro Farmer editor, says the crops he sampled were “definitely subpar.”

“Normally you roll through there and you see consistency and 200+ bu. yields,” he told U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan. “There’s some out there but not enough to tip the scale.”

Grete says variability will be to blame for Illinois yield woes. 

“There’s too much variability in the crop. Within fields and field-to-field, too,” he says. “It’s really hard to build a crop with variability.”

As you might expect, given the tour results already released that showed variability and immaturity issues in Indiana and Ohio, the eastern side of the state is worse than the western side.  

“Typically, Illinois doesn’t have those struggles,” Grete said. While crops may look fine from the road, Grete warned it’s a different story once you’re in the field. 

“When you get out into the field to pull samples we saw a lot of skips in rows and we saw a lot of plants that didn’t produce an ear,” he said. “Those are all byproducts of planting into conditions that are far less than ideal.”

Illinois farmers definitely faced their fair share of planting conditions that were less than ideal given the historically wet spring. Grete said when farmers were finally able to get into fields, conditions weren’t ideal, but they went anyway because they felt like they needed to get the crop planted. 

“There were probably many acres across the corn belt this year that shouldn’t have been planted and we still had record prevent plant acres,” he said. 

Soybeans Struggle Too

Disappointing soybean pod counts have been consistent throughout the eastern Corn Belt, Grete said. 

“Soybean pod counts [have been] really low this year,” he said. “It’s a small crop, a short crop and that doesn’t mean they can’t have a lot of pods and there are some out there that are heavily podded but not enough of them.”

Not only are the soybeans short, they ‘re immature. 

“As it looks right now in the third week of august, they’re going to perform more like a double crop soybean than a regular soybean,” he said.  

Find complete Crop Tour route reports, market analysis and historical comparisons at

Follow along with today’s coverage:

Crop Tour Methods Account for Tip-Back, Short Ears & Other Conditions

Crop Tour Scouts Expect Improved Maturity As They Head West

Crop Tour From The Rows: Agronomist Look at Indiana

Crop Tour: Nebraska Soybeans “Average” to “Below-Average”