Route Report: Early Planted Crops OK, Late-planted Ones in Trouble

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour ( Pro Farmer )

Crop Consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier made a trip over the weekend, traveling across northern and central Illinois and eastern Iowa, trying to hit areas the latest Drought Monitor indicated were abnormally dry. He traveled from Chicago to Iowa City then south to Keokuk Iowa and east across central Illinois back to Chicago. After making the trip, he noted “It may not be an official drought as of yet, but it is getting close, if they are not already in one.” But some of those areas received rain after he made the trip.

On corn, he said that variability was high depending on location and planting date. Early-planted crops showed some moisture stress, but the crop is generally done pollinating and looks decent so long as it receives more rain. The late-planted corn is a different story, according to Cordonnier, who details that the latest corn won’t pollinate until the second or third week of August. Moisture stress is evident.

Generally speaking, he said early planted corn was about as expected and some fields could do 200-plus bu. per acres. Record-setting yields are unlikely. But later-planted corn was worse than expected and some fields could do 50 bu. per acre. It would also be clipped by an average frost date, he adds.

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Corn in eastern Iowa is “somewhat better” than that in western Illinois, Cordonnier reports, projecting that an average yield in the areas of Illinois he traveled through might be 175 bu. per acre.

Cordonnier says he saw a striking amount of short soybeans on his trip. Thigh-high beans were few and far between. On average, most beans were less than knee high, he continues. Early planted soybeans could do 50 to 60 bu. per acre if rains fall, but later-planted beans were in much worse shape than Cordonnier anticipated. Some of the worse fields might yield just 10 to 15 bu. per acre if rains do not fall soon, he forecasts.

“The number of empty fields is amazing – we saw hundreds of empty fields,” Cordonnier reports.