August 21, 2008
 

US crop tour finds west Iowa corn good, soy uncertain

 
 

Crop scouts on the Western leg of the 2008 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Wednesday (August 20, 2008) evening reported good potential for corn crops in western cropping districts of Iowa, but uncertainty was the theme of crop scouts on soy potential.

 

The tour's findings were presented to over 200 local producers that assembled in Spencer, Iowa, to discuss the findings of the tour. Crop scouts on 6 different routes sampled 199 corn fields and 182 soy fields in southwest, west central and northwest Iowa, as the tour completed its canvassing of Iowa's western most cropping districts on the third day of the tour.

 

The average corn yield for the southwestern 7th cropping district was reported at 165.67 bushels an acre, up 9 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour. The yield for the west central 4th cropping district was reported at 174.57 bushels an acre, up 4.7 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour. The yield for the northwestern 1st cropping district was reported at 174.73 bushels an acre, up 7.9 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour.

 

Pro Farmer will release estimates for the entire state of Iowa Thursday evening.

 

Crop scouts were impressed with the yield potential of corn crops in western Iowa, but did express some disappointment in late planted fields.

 

More of this year's corn crop in western Iowa will make it to the bin, as strong stands, healthy stalks were seen across routes toured, said Neil Hadley, a producer and crop scout. Disease issues and insect problems were rarely seen, he added.

 

Ear populations in the three western Iowa districts are up from 2007 tour findings.

 

Ear populations are up strong from 2007 and that makes a big difference in yield potential, said Terry Johnston, consultant for the western leg of the tour. The corn crop looks good, and it's healthier than it has been in recent years at this time, Johnston said.

 

However, scouts did report lodging and nitrogen losses in some fields observed. Gary Wietgrefe, agronomist and crop consultant from Sioux Falls, South Dakota said he observed yields below average and below last year's findings, with no moisture in the top 6 inches of soil in many fields in southwestern Iowa.

 

Late planted corn crops did not have deep roots and can not tap nitrogen, he added.

 

The crop in western Iowa has been turned into a rain addict, where it wants rain every few days, and the rain has been shut off recently, said Chip Flory, editor of the Pro Farmer newsletter and director of the western leg of the tour.

 

Tour observations revealed the average soy pod count for the southwestern 7th cropping district was reported at 1,160.35 in a 3 foot by 3 foot plot, down 7.6 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour.

 

Pod counts for the west central 4th cropping district was reported at 1,088.07, down 7.6 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour. The average of pod counts for the northwestern 1st cropping district was reported at 1,043.75 bushels an acre, up 5.4 percent from findings for the district during last year's tour.

 

The soy crop in western Iowa has a lot of uncertainty, with variable conditions seen across routes scouted by the tour.

 

Moisture and maturity will be the key for soy potential as moisture is needed to finish and fill pods.

 

From the road it's hard to tell the crop has a moisture problem, but some fields were observed with cracks in the soil that went down 18 inches, the scout said.

 

Overall, the crop has good vegetation, but moisture and the ability to avoid a September frost will be the determinant of potential for western Iowa soys, scouts added.
   

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