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August 17, 2016

Trip Report - Indiana and western Ohio

On Saturday, August 13, we traveled across Indiana and western Ohio inspecting the crops with the following observations. We traveled from Chicago to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and then across western Ohio before returning across central and northwestern Indiana. The weather in Indiana on Saturday was quite wet as tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico moved across the state. We drove through numerous waves of brief but heavy rains. These were obviously the first significant rains in quite some time especially in eastern Indiana. A lot more rainfall is expected in the state the first part of this week.

The soil in every field was dry (prior to the rains) and the lawns in eastern Indiana were brown and "crunchy". You could tell that western Indiana had been receiving rains because the lawns were green and lush. The driest areas we saw in Indiana were around Fort Wayne in the northeastern part of the state.

Western Ohio was also generally very dry as well and it was also obvious that they had not received any significant rainfall in a number of weeks. On Saturday evening and Sunday, it appeared that the tropical moisture moved across Ohio as well, which was very welcomed. It looks like western Ohio is going to receive multiple inches of rainfall over the next few days.

Indiana Corn

  • The Indiana corn crop is better in the western half of the state and not as good in the eastern half of the state. Generally, I thought the corn in Indiana looked quite good, but in eastern Indiana there is a lot of moisture stress especially on the lighter soils or the later planted corn.
  • The corn in western Indiana is very good, but I though the ears and the yields generally turned out to be less than I expected all across the state given the good visual appearance of the crop from the highway.
  • We could only pull a limited number of samples due to the rain, but of the four samples we checked, the low yield was about 145 bu/ac and the high yield was 219 bu/ac with an average of 178 bu/ac. The USDA estimated the state's corn yield on Friday at 187 bu/ac.

Indiana Soybeans

  • Only one word describes most of the soybeans in the state of Indiana and that word is "awesome." I don't know if I have ever seen such consistently good looking soybeans in the state. There were some lessor looking soybeans in the dry northeastern part of the state, but outside of that region, the soybeans were looking great.
  • They are very tall, uniform, robust, dark green and setting a lot of pods.
  • The areas that received good rainfall over the weekend and early this week will have adequate moisture for at least another 2 weeks. These areas would probably only need one more good rain to have a very successful soybean crop.
  • The USDA estimated the Indiana soybean crop at 55 bu/ac and I think the crop deserved the very high estimate.

Western Ohio Corn

  • Ohio is generally the driest state in the Corn Belt and the corn crop is exhibiting a lot of moisture stress. There were a lot of fields where the crop was shorter than normal, stressed, and was dying prematurely.
  • Any rain from this point forward will have a limited benefit for the corn in Ohio.
  • We only took three samples from western Ohio with the lowest at 112 bu/ac, the highest at 179 bu/ac and the average was 141 bu/ac. The USDA estimated the Ohio corn crop at 163 bu/ac last Friday.
  • The corn displayed a lot of tip-back with poor pollination and small ears.
  • We tried to sample fields that were typical of the area, but I am sure that if we sampled the worst fields, the yields are below 100 bu/ac.

Western Ohio Soybeans

  • I thought the soybeans weathered the adverse conditions better than the corn.
  • There were a lot of short soybeans, but there were also many soybean fields that I thought look very good compared to the corn in the neighboring field.
  • We did not see many soybeans that were wilting or showing obvious signs of moisture stress, which was a surprise.
  • With the rain now moving through the state, the soybean yields should stabilize and I think in the end, the soybeans in Ohio will out-perform the corn in Ohio.

Summary

  • The Indiana corn looks generally very good, but the ears were disappointing in a number of fields and I think the USDA has slightly overestimated the Indiana corn crop. The crop turned out to be not quite as good as I expected.
  • The Indiana soybeans turned out to be better than I expected. The soybeans are almost uniformly looking great.
  • The Ohio corn was worse than I expected. Granted, we only traveled through a small section of the state, but the corn has taken a hit this year.
  • The Ohio soybeans were probably better than I expected especially given how bad some of corn looked.