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June 12, 2013

Trip Report - Iowa and Illinois

Over the past weekend I traveled through Iowa and Illinois with the following observations:

Iowa Corn

  • It was cloudy, cool, and wet with off-and-on light rain the entire trip through Iowa. There was no drying occurring while I was there, just the opposite, it was getting wetter instead.
  • Everywhere I went in Iowa it was wet. There was not that much standing water, but I did not see any fields that were dry enough to plant (not by a long shot).
  • Most of the standing water had drained away, but the wet areas will require 4-6 days to dry out enough to plant, given there is no additional rainfall and they have good drying conditions.
  • The crops were much more delayed than I had expected, it looked like early May not almost the middle of June.
  • The average corn height was 3-5 inches with the tallest at maybe 6-7 inches (very few fields) and the smallest just emerging (a lot of fields). The average corn crop in Iowa looked to be about three weeks or more behind in its development.
  • The corn was generally yellowish green in color due to saturated soil conditions and lack of nitrogen uptake. It is uneven in height and appearance. In the ponded areas the crop will either need to be replanted to an earlier maturing corn hybrid or claimed under insurance because the corn had been killed in most of the ponded areas. Some of the larger ponded areas may get replanted to soybeans.
  • Some of the corn had not yet emerged and there were still some fields of corn that had not been planted.
  • Generally the corn crop was worse than I expected. In my opinion, I would judge very little of Iowa's corn crop as good to excellent because it is so delayed in its development.

Iowa Soybeans

  • The most advanced soybeans only 2-3 inches tall. Most of the soybeans had either not emerged or had not yet been planted. The soybeans are too small to judge the condition of the crop.
  • There are a lot of soybean fields that have not been planted and it's going to take several days of good drying weather to get into the fields where there are lighter soils and 4-5 days of good drying weather for the wetter fields with heavy soil.
  • My general thought driving through Iowa was "Where's the soybeans?" The soybean crop is at least several weeks delayed in Iowa and if it doesn't dry off quickly, the crop is going to be even more delayed.

Illinois Corn

  • Western Illinois was just as wet as Iowa, but the wetness eases somewhat as you move east and south in Illinois. The wet areas of western Illinois will require 3-4 days of good drying weather before the farmers can get back into the fields.
  • The best corn is in eastern Illinois and the most delayed corn is in western Illinois.
  • There has also been a lot of ponding in Illinois and those areas will either have to be replanted or claimed under insurance.
  • The average height of the corn is 3-5 inches tall with a few fields 6-7 inches tall and a lot of fields just emerging. It is yellowish green in color, uneven in height, and having a hard time getting going.
  • The corn crop in Illinois is probably three weeks delayed in its development and it needs improved weather conditions, which would be warm temperatures and sunny skies.

Illinois soybeans

  • The soybeans in Illinois are similar to the soybeans in Iowa. Some of the soybeans are 2-3 inches tall, but most have not emerged or have not yet been planted.
  • It will take at least several days of good drying conditions before farmers can get back into the fields in north-central Illinois. I hear there was some planting occurring on Sunday further south in Illinois, but where I traveled (see map), I did not see anyone in the field.
  • The soybean crop is at least several weeks delayed in its development and it's going to get worse if the weather doesn't improve quickly.

Summary - I realize it is early and the crops will look better as the weather improves, but right now a lot of the corn looks pathetic in the two biggest corn producing states. It is short, yellow, very delayed in its development, wet, slow growing, and in dire need of improved weather. What these late crops need is daytime temperatures in the mid-80's, nighttime temperatures in the 60's, no rainfall for ten days with bright and sunny skies. No more cloud cover please!