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July 26, 2017

Trip Report - Indiana and Western Ohio

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Last Saturday, (July 22, 2017) we traveled through northern and central Indiana as well as western Ohio with the following observations.

Current Conditions

  • Both Indiana and Ohio are very wet and its gets wetter the further east you go. The wettest area was western Ohio and the "least" wet areas are in western Indiana.
  • There is water standing everywhere in the fields with numerous ponds and water visible between the rows. We did not encounter any roads closed due to flooding, but all the rivers and creeks were filled to the top of their banks.
  • Many areas are supper-saturated and any additional rainfall within the next 1-2 weeks will make the situation worse.

Corn - Indiana and Ohio

  • I will describe both states at the same time because the conditions were very similar in both states.
  • Let me start of by saying that the corn was about as I had expected.
  • The corn crop is uneven due to the wetness and the fact that some of the corn had to be replanted. The most advanced corn has already pollinated and the most delayed corn will pollinate in 2-3 weeks. There is plenty of soil moisture for pollination, that is certainly not an issue this year.
  • There are low lying areas where the standing water has resulted in stunted and yellowish corn. There will probably be more abandonment than normal due to ponding where the corn was killed.
  • I thought that most of the corn was handling the situation fairly well. The majority of the crop was about average height, with a good dark green color, and it probably has an average yield potential. It is possible that some of the corn may run out of nitrogen due to leaching, but I did not see any obvious nitrogen deficiency outside of the low ponded areas.
  • The corn crop has plenty of soil moisture for at least the next two weeks.
  • The corn yields in both states could still turn out to be OK, but the replanted corn is going to need a late frost in order to reach maturity.

Soybeans - Indiana and Ohio

  • The soybean crop in both states has a very low crop rating which is certainly deserved!
  • Let me start off by saying that the soybeans were worse than I expected and the soybeans have been impacted by the wet weather much more than the corn.
  • The best looking soybeans (maybe 20% of the total) are thigh-high, dark green, lush, with probably an average yield potential.
  • The worst soybeans (maybe 40% of the total) are pathetic indeed. We saw hundreds of fields where the soybeans were only 6 inches tall, stunted, yellowish with water standing between the rows. It looked like the soybeans had not put on any new growth since early June.
  • The problem in the wettest fields is that the root zone is saturated and devoid of oxygen. It would take at least a week of dry weather to dry things up enough for the plants to start regrowing. Any additional rainfall within the next 1-2 weeks will keep the root zone saturated.
  • The remaining 40% of the soybean crop was mediocre at best. Many of these soybeans are less than knee-high, had a yellowish-green color, but still had the potential for an OK yield if the August weather turned out to be good.
  • In many fields you could see exactly where the drainage tiles are located. Above the tiles the soybeans looked about normal for this time of the years. In between the tiles where it was more saturated, the soybeans are short, stunted, yellowish, and in poor to very poor condition.
  • Additionally, there were more weeds in the soybean fields than I can ever recall. It was obvious that either the farmers were not able to spray due to the wetness, or the herbicide did not work. In the weediest fields, we actually had a hard time determining if soybeans had been planted in the field.
  • The yields in the worst fields will be at least 50% below average if not more.
  • I fully realize that soybeans can recuperate if the weather cooperates during August, but the situation in the worst fields is so bad that some fields will never recuperate regardless of how good the weather may turn out in August. In the worst fields they may harvest 10-15 bu/ac if they are lucky.
  • On the positive side, the soybeans that were planted early or in fields with good drainage, will have plenty of moisture for flowering and early pod setting.
  • The bottom line is that the soybean yields in both Indiana and Ohio will be much below trend.