Bin-busting corn potential confirmed
SPENCER – Clay County and surrounding area farmers were not surprised to hear on Aug. 20 the stories of large yields and late-maturing crops presented by scouts on the western leg of the Midwest Pro-Farmer Tour at the annual Spencer stop.
Scouts reported the 2014 Iowa crop yields were close to that which the U.S. Department of Agriculture released earlier this month. They said crops appeared to be healthy.
Chip Flory, leader of the western leg of the tour, said corn and soybean yields were all up from last year, but said producers should not count their chickens before they hatch.
“The (corn) samples we saw today were in the late-dough to very early-dent stage,” he said. “It’s a late-maturing crop.”
He attributing this to cool temperatures throughout the growing season.
“If we can get to Oct. 10 without a frost,” Flory said, “we’ll be golden; but if we get a frost around Oct. 1, you better buy your propane now because you’re going to need it.”
He said kernel depth is more mature in southern Iowa as compared to northwest Iowa.
Corn yield averages in western Iowa found by Pro Farmer scouts ranged from 177.48 bushels per acre in northwest Iowa to 180.06 bpa in west central Iowa, and 180.9 bpa in southwest Iowa.
All of these findings were higher than 2013’s estimates.
Soybean yields in the same regions ranged from 1,091 pods in a three-foot-by-three-foot square for northwest Iowa – up 27 percent – to more than 1,204 pods in west central Iowa, to 1,166 pods in samples taken in southwest Iowa.
These findings showed significant increases from last year’s crop.
Scouts reported they did not see 200 bpa corn from Grand Island, Neb. to Nebraska City.
Traveling through Denison to Cherokee, they said they did not see 200-bushel corn possibilities until Clay County.
They also saw high ear counts around 112, and good seed drop to ear conversion, as well as longer ear lengths than expected.
Some northwest Iowa crops were stunted with devastating June rains – up to 24 inches in four days in the Rock Rapids area.
Still, Flory said the possibility exists for record yields in northwest Iowa.
“If what we saw today comes to fruition, it looks like a precedent-setting growing season,” Flory said.
Scouts said they saw some Goss’ wilt as they traveled up I-29 through Missouri Valley to Sac City, Denison and Spencer, and said their lowest bpa count came in Clay County, with a sample coming out in the low 150s, attributing it to hard ground at the sample area.
One of the scouts reported the highest corn yields he saw was in Southwest Iowa at 275 bpa.
He said it was in one of Stine Seed’s fields that was planted in 12-inch rows. He said narrow rows, using a 51,000 population guide, was the future of production.
Lock in basis
Scout Jay Merryman said producers should lock their basis up as soon as possible.
“(The markets are) not going to get better in the next 30 days because we have freight problems in the Dakotas and Kansas,” he said. “You’ll have bushels that won’t fit into the bin, so move those through the channels first and then store the rest.”
Nick Hanson, northwest Iowa DuPont Pioneer representative, said the June rains could have created much more damage, but the season started out with an empty soil profile, allowing moisture to move through the soil.
He said the crop is 100 heat units behind, but cooler temperatures also allowed for a longer pollination period.
“The crop is a touch behind this year, but it can catch up yet like it did in 2013,” he said. “We need to turn up the heat, and although July was dry, August has provided us good rains when we’ve needed them.
“That will carry us through the rest of the year.”
Hanson said producers have seen low insect pressure this year due to the hard winter, which killed bugs and eggs, but stress factors that surfaced this year included dry conditions for planting, cooler-than-normal growing temperatures, residue and frost.
Some diseases he’s seeing in the corn include common rust, Goss’ wilt and northern corn leaf blight.
Hanson said soybeans in northwest Iowa are looking good, even though some are struggling to close the canopy.
He reported good pod counts in most areas. Soybean diseases and pests he’s seen include white mold, sudden death syndrome and aphids. He estimates soybeans to reach maturity around Sept. 25.
Flory said the Ohio corn crop was planted late and that samples taken were in the blister to full milk stages. He said an early frost there won’t be likely because the area is protected by the Great Lakes.
“They’ll probably make it to full maturity-they have a heck of a crop there,” Flory said, adding that Ohio soybeans samples showed 1,342 pods in the measured area, up 4.6 percent from last year.
Indiana corn averaged at 185.03 bpa, up 10.6 percent from last year, while soybeans came out at 1,220 pods in the three-by-three-foot square, up three percent from last year.
Nebraska corn yields came in at 163.77 bpa, up 5.7 percent, while soybeans showed 1,103 pods in their measured areas.
The soybean yields were down 3.1 percent from a year ago.
“Last year, when we went through Nebraska, there was waterhemp here and there; this year it’s everywhere,” Flory said. “If they can’t get it under control, imagine what it will be like in two years.”
Illinois corn yields showed a 197 bpa potential, up 15 percent from last year, while soybeans came in at 1,299 pods in the square, up 16.4 percent.
“The corn crop numbers are big in Illinois,” Flory said. “It’s going to be good over there.
“And they’ll have a good bean crop – not record yields, because a lot can be determined by the size of the bean, but they’re getting rains when they need them.”
The western leg started in Sioux Falls, S.D., with overnight stops in Grand Island, Neb., Nebraska City, Neb. to Spencer.
The tour finalized on the eastern leg on Aug. 21 in Rochester, Minn.
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