The Eastern arm of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour moved into Illinois on Day 3 and found better crops and yields, according to HAT reporter Ty Higgins, who is traveling with the tour, “The most noticeable thing for me so far this week is the change in crop health as we move west.” The tour started out Wednesday traveling west from Bloomington. According to Higgins, “Our first stop was on Sangamon County, and it was a pretty nice start to Day 3. The corn was very well populated and the ear fill was decent. We are seeing more nutrient deficiencies in this part of the state. The soybeans were so tall they couldn’t hold their own weight, but the pod count was a little lower than we expected. Our corn average was 180.5 and our pod count came in at 1064.8.”
Attica, Indiana farmer Steve Fellure is one of the scouts on the eastern leg of the tour. He chose to take that side of the Corn Belt because he wanted to see if the bad crops were as bad and the good crops were as good as he has been hearing throughout the growing season. Fellure’s Day 3 route began south of Springfield, Illinois and worked northwest until his crew reached Iowa City, Iowa on Wednesday night. He said yield numbers were getting better in that part of the Midwest, but it was even better than he expected, “I had heard that the SW part of Iowa was sort of dicey, but what we have seen is better than I thought it was going to be.” The one thing that stuck out for Fellure on Wednesday was consistently better soybean pod counts, “The rains that have come through as we have been on tour will only help these soybeans, so I think the beans in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa are going to be a real surprise.”
“Our stop in Macoupin County was better for the corn than the soybeans,” said Higgins. “This corn was planted in 20 inch rows and will yield out at 195. The bean field had some gaping holes and the canopy was not even close to closing. We counted 750 pods in a 3 x 3 square.” Higgins said the best field on the tour so far was found in Morgan County. They estimated a corn yield of 263.5. The soybeans came in at 1107 pods and did show some pest pressure, but all in all in great shape. Higgins said at their stop in Cass County, “One of our ears had a hard time at pollination and there were aphids all over this field that we figure will bring in 203 bushels per acre. The soybeans were a very nice height and one of the few 15 inch rows we found in this area. Our pod count was 1011.”
The final stop in the Land of Lincoln was in Hancock County. Higgins said they expected to find the best field of the day, “This corn was tall and in great health. We figured for sure it would be our best field, but it came up just shy at 247. The beans were the nicest we’ve seen all day at over 1400 pods.” The Illinois average was pegged at a solid 190.96 for corn (with some lower samples) and a pod count of 1032.5 in a 3 x 3 feet square. The official Pro Farmer total for Illinois was 171.6 bpa and a soybean pod count of 1190.57.
Higgins said in Eastern Iowa the crops continued to improve, “In Henry County, the corn stand was excellent and all three ears in our sample looked great. Our yield count here is 196 bushels to the acre. The soybeans were also very healthy and it took a while to count these pods. Our number is 1707.84 here.” He said their stop in Louisa County was a pretty impressive, too, “You can tell by how green the grass is here that moisture is not a problem and this fully dented corn field was showing the signs of a great season. Our calculations put this field at 231.7 bushels. The bean field was just as amazing. A high population and heavily podded plants made this one of the best of the day at 1626.8.”
Their stop in Muscatine County, however, showed that not all the corn in Iowa is perfect, “Had quite a few holes that we noticed as we drove toward this field and too much water late in the season was the story from these ears. The population was a little low and ear length struggled, putting this field at a 167.4 yield estimate. The soybeans were in 30 inch rows and population was average. Our count here was 1048.8. Our Iowa averages were 1363.56 pods in a 3 x 3 square and corn at 192 bushels to the acre.”