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July 16, 2014

Trip Report - Indiana, Ohio, and Eastern Illinois

On Saturday, July 12th, I took a trip from Chicago through northern Indiana and into western Ohio and back to Chicago via central Indiana and eastern Illinois. Rain moved through the region after I had when through, so these observations are before the weekend rains.

Indiana Corn

  • The corn in Indiana is almost universally good, although I would say western Indiana is a little better than eastern Indiana.
  • The crop is tall, uniform, dark green in color, with high plant populations, and in very good condition. There is a little more variability in eastern Indiana due to previous saturated conditions, but even in those areas, the variability is less than normal.
  • While it was getting a little dry in eastern Indiana, the corn roots are down into the subsoil and I did not see any moisture stress at all on the corn in Indiana.
  • This week and next week will be the peak of the pollination. The most advanced fields have already pollinated and the most delayed fields will pollinate before the end of July.
  • The cool temperatures forecasted for this week will be very good for pollination, but it will slow down the corn development a little. I do not see a slowdown in development as a problem unless there is a very early frost in the fall.
  • In the accompanying pictures you will see only very good looking corn because that is the way all the corn looks. I generally like to show good crops and bad crops so you get an average picture of the crop, but I could not find any poor looking corn fields!
  • The Indiana corn crop is on its way to a very good yield. There are no stresses on the corn, the temperatures are cool, and there is excellent plant health.

Indiana Soybeans

  • The soybean crop in Indiana is not nearly as good as the corn crop.
  • The condition of the soybeans in western Indiana and eastern Indiana are very different from each other.
  • In western Indiana the soybeans are generally tall (two feet or more in height), dark green, growing rapidly, and on pace for very high yields if the weather during August cooperates.
  • In eastern Indiana it is very different. The soybeans in eastern Indiana are very short with the average height of about ankle-high. Many of the soybeans are very slow growing, pale green in color, and stunted by the previously saturated conditions. It is apparent that some of the soybeans in eastern Indiana have lost a month's worth of growth.
  • It was getting dry in parts of eastern Indiana and the very short soybeans, which had been suffering from saturated conditions, are now growing slowly because of dry conditions.
  • In eastern Indiana there was no standing water when I when though. All the ponds had dried up and were now dry. In western Indian there was still standing water in the ponded areas.
  • There is a lot of variability in the Indiana soybean crop from excellent looking soybeans that are more than two feet tall to very poor looking soybeans that are less than six inches tall.
  • The poor soybeans still have an opportunity to recuperate somewhat, but even with ideal weather over the next 60 days, the yields of these poor soybeans is going to be very low.
  • In general, the Indiana soybean crop might end up being a little better than average mainly due to how good the soybeans are progressing in western Indiana.

Western Ohio Corn

  • The corn in western Ohio is nearly uniformly in good condition. It is tall, dark green, with a high plant population, good plant health, and no apparent moisture stress.
  • While it was getting a little dry in the area, I did not see any moisture stress on the corn.
  • The most advanced corn is just now pollinating and the majority of the corn will pollinate by the end of July.
  • The developing dryness could be a concern if it stayed dry for the next few weeks. If additional rainfall is received in western Ohio over the next few weeks, the corn yield will certainly end up being above trend.

Western Ohio Soybeans

  • The soybeans are not nearly as good as the corn in western Ohio.
  • Many of the soybeans are very short in height, pale green in color, slow growing, and were obviously impacted by the previous saturated conditions.
  • There is a lot of variability between fields and within fields - it all depends on how saturated the area was earlier in June
  • Surprisingly, the region is now getting too dry and the roots of the very short soybeans are now stuck in a drying topsoil.
  • This week looks very cool and dry, which is not the best scenario for the soybean crop that has a lot of hurdles to overcome.
  • The soybeans in western Ohio need warmer temperatures and moderate rainfall to gain additional growth before entering the reproductive phase.
  • I was not impressed with the soybeans in western Ohio. The crop is going to need improved weather in short order or it will be hard for the crop to reach trend line yields.

Eastern Illinois Corn

  • The corn crop in eastern Illinois is about as good as it gets! It is tall, has good plant health, dark green in color, and very robust.
  • A lot of the corn has already pollinated and the majority will pollinate in the next ten days or so. The temperatures are going to be cool for at least another week which should aid pollination.
  • The only moisture stress in eastern Illinois is too much water and ponding in some areas.
  • With the good condition of the crop in eastern Illinois and plentiful soil moisture, the corn crop is probably only 2 or 3 rains away from being done.
  • The corn yield in eastern Illinois is going to be very high, maybe a record if something weird doesn't happen over the next 60 days. Probably the only thing that could derail the crop would be an earlier than normal frost.

Eastern Illinois Soybeans

  • There is a lot of variability in the soybeans in eastern Illinois. Some fields look fantastic, they are more than two feet tall and look very good. The soybeans in other fields are stunted and still sitting in saturated soils with standing water.
  • In the saturated situations, the soybeans are very short, stunted, pale green in color, and struggling to grow.
  • The soybeans just have not developed as good as the corn and they will continue to struggle as long as it stays saturated.
  • The weather this week is going to be cool and dry. The dry part is good, but the cool temperatures are going to slow down the development of the already slow growing soybeans.
  • The soybeans in eastern Illinois are better than the soybeans in Ohio and eastern Indiana, but there is a lot of variability in the crop. The soybeans could still do well, but the overall yield is going to be limited by the poorer soybeans in the saturated areas.