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August 5, 2014

Trip Report-Illinois, Missouri, S. Iowa, NE Kansas and SE Nebraska

Over the weekend I traveled from Chicago, through central and western Illinois, across northern Missouri into northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska then returning to Chicago through southern Iowa and northern Illinois.

Illinois Corn

  • Generally, the Illinois corn crop is in good to excellent condition. Pollination was good and the ears are big, fully filled, and on track for a record production.
  • While most of the crop has adequate soil moisture, there are some moisture stresses developing especially on the lighter soils and in the western half of the state.
  • On some of the corn, the bottom leaves are starting to fire and the leaves are starting to turn light green due to a lack of moisture.
  • Moisture stress is certainly the exception and not the rule. On the route I traveled, I would say that 5% or less of the fields in Illinois were exhibiting some level of moisture stress.
  • I did not see any tip-back on the ears, but I would not be surprised if a little tip-back started to develop especially if it stayed dry in western Illinois.
  • Even if dryness persists, it's still going to be a record large crop, just maybe not quite as large as it could be.

Illinois Soybeans

  • The Illinois soybean crop is also generally in good to excellent condition. The crop is mostly tall (waist high) and setting pods at a rapid pace. There are also some average looking soybeans in Illinois and certainly there are more average soybeans than there are average corn fields. There are also some soybean fields where the soybeans are shorter than normal as the result of earlier saturated conditions.
  • Moisture stresses are starting to show up in the same places as the corn - lighter soils and in the western part of the state.
  • Some of the soybeans are taking on the lighter green color due to wilting caused by lack of moisture. The hardest hit soybeans are actually starting to exhibit severe moisture stress, but that is rare (maybe 1-2% of the crop).
  • Even where there is moisture stress, a good rain in the next week or two could avoid any significant yield reductions.
  • Illinois has the potential for a record soybean crop, but it will need additional moisture to achieve that potential. The potential for the soybeans in Illinois is not as great as it is for the corn.

Southern Iowa Corn

  • The corn crop across southern Iowa is generally in good to excellent condition. The best corn is in southeast Iowa and the more average looking corn is in southwest Iowa.
  • Southeast Iowa has benefited from recent rains and if they received one more good rain, there would probably be enough soil moisture to generally finish the crop.
  • The soils in southwest Iowa are definitely drying out. Southwest Iowa did receive some showers over the weekend, but more will be needed. Moisture stress are starting to show up in southwestern Iowa especially on the lighter soils.
  • Even though I did not see much tip-back occurring on the corn in southwest Iowa, I would not be surprised if a little starts to show up if it remains dry.
  • The corn in southeast Iowa is certainly on track for potential record yields. The corn in southwest Iowa will probably have more of an average type of yield.

Southern Iowa Soybeans

  • The soybeans are not as good as the corn especially in southwest Iowa where a lot of the soybeans look about average.
  • Southeast Iowa soybeans look really good and they have ample soil moisture at the present time. One or two more good rains in southeast Iowa and the crop will essentially be made.
  • The best soybeans in southeast Iowa look fantastic and will certainly end up with potentially record yields.
  • The soybeans in southwest Iowa could use a rain. The soybeans in this part of the state are more average looking and some are starting to exhibit some moisture stress. There are some shorter than normal soybeans in this part of the state especially on the hillsides. If it remains dry in southwest Iowa, the soybean yields will be limited.

Missouri Corn

  • The corn in eastern Missouri looks really good. I would have to say it is maybe the best corn I have ever seen in this part of Missouri. Usually the corn crop in the state suffers from hot and dry conditions, but not this year, at least that is the case in eastern Missouri.
  • There will be some record breaking corn yields reported from eastern Missouri.
  • Dryness is starting to show up in western Missouri where some moisture stresses are becoming apparent. The corn is far enough along though that any dryness from this point forward would probably have a minor impact on the corn yield.
  • The corn in western Missouri could still be above average, but I don't know if the corn yield will be record breaking in western Missouri.

Missouri Soybeans

  • The full-season soybeans are generally good to excellent especially in eastern Missouri. They are tall and robust and setting and filling pods and they have good soil moisture.
  • The full-season soybeans in western Missouri have not been quite as fortunate and some moisture stresses are starting to show up in western Missouri. The soybeans in this part of the state need some rain.
  • The double crop soybeans in Missouri have not been as fortunate as the full-season soybeans. A lot of the double crop soybeans have very spotty stands and the soybeans are only as tall as the wheat stubble or shorter. The double crop soybeans in eastern Missouri look much better than the double crop soybeans in western Missouri. If it stays dry in western Missouri, these double crop soybeans are going to be very low yielding.

Northeast Kansas and Southeast Nebraska Corn

  • I would have to say that the corn in northeast Kansas is probably the best corn I have ever seen in that part of Kansas. Apparently northeast Kansas is the best part of the state because the crop overall is not rated that good in Kansas.
  • The corn in southeast Nebraska is not quite as good as it is in Kansas, but still very good.
  • The soils in this region are drying out and even though they received some light rainfall over the weekend they will need more. The corn is far enough along though that continued dryness will only have a minor impact on the eventual yields.
  • There was heavy dew and fog when I was in northeastern Kansas and even though a dew results in very little moisture, heavy dews on a consistent basis can trickle down the stalks and help sustain the corn during periods of dry weather.
  • A lot of corn in this region is far enough along in its development that one or two more good rains will be enough to insure a good finish to the crop.

Northeast Kansas and Southeast Nebraska Soybeans

  • The soybeans generally look very good, but not as good as the corn.
  • The best soybeans are very good, but there are also a lot of average looking soybeans in the region.
  • Some moisture stresses are starting to appear, but you don't see much stress since a significant amount of the soybeans in this region are irrigated.
  • The double crop soybeans are certainly not as good as the full-season soybeans. A lot of the double crop soybeans have spotty stands and are very short. The double crop soybeans are going to need significant rainfall in order to produce an average soybean crop.

Lawn Report

As I mentioned after my last trip, the lawns in the rural areas are a good indication of the moisture condition of the topsoil.

  • Central Illinois - green, but starting to show some dryness.
  • Western Illinois - a few lawns are fully green, most are light green and some lawns are starting to turn brown.
  • Southeastern Iowa - some areas have nice green lawns, but there also some brown lawns as well.
  • Southwestern Iowa - very few green lawns, most of the lawns are various shades of brown.
  • Eastern Missouri - most of the lawns are green due to recent rains.
  • Western Missouri - most of the lawns are light brown to brown.
  • NE Kansas/SE Nebraska - some light green lawns, but most of the lawns are light brown to brown.