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August 3, 2011

Trip report - Illinois and Western Indiana

On Sunday, I went from northern Illinois to southeastern Illinois through the middle part of the state and then I returned to Chicago through western Indiana with the following observations:
  • Even though recent rains have helped, much more rain is needed.
  • The driest area appears to be east-central Illinois.
  • In many of the fields, the leaves on the bottom two feet of the corn plant have already turned brown.
  • The plant health of the corn is poor in many regions with rampant foliar diseases present.
  • Poor pollination and tip back was common across the area.
  • In the vast majority of the fields, the ears were worse than what they appeared to be from the highway.
  • Later planted corn appears to be harder hit than earlier planted corn.
  • A small percentage of the corn has not yet pollinated.
  • There is a lot of unevenness in the corn especially in Indiana.
  • Soybeans are "hanging in there" given the adverse July weather.
  • The average height of the soybeans is shorter than normal with many fields less than knee high.
  • In the dryer areas some of the soybeans were wilting in the heat of the day.

Summary - The fate of the corn crop in central and eastern Illinois as well as western Indian is sealed. The July weather took a toll on the corn with many small ears and a lot of tip back apparent in most fields. There are also a lot of foliar diseases impacting the corn especially in central and eastern Illinois. I feel that the corn yields in both Illinois and Indiana will end up below trend line.

The soybean crop still has a chance to hit trend line yields if the August weather turns wet. Much of the crop is shorter than normal, but the crop could still improve if the August weather turns around quickly. An improved wetter pattern needs to develop within the next two weeks for the soybean crop to improve. Currently, I think the Illinois soybean crop could still eke out a trend line yield, but the Indiana soybean crop will end up below trend line.