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June 16, 2015

Trip Report - Illinois and western Indiana

Last Wednesday, we drove through central and eastern Illinois and western Indiana - basically from Chicago-Springfield-Champaign-West Lafayette-Chicago.

I would categorize the corn in that region as 80% good to excellent and where the corn was good, it was really good. The best corn was knee high, uniform in height, dark green in color, had a high plant population, and looked lush and flourishing in the 90+ temperatures. But, there was about 20% of the corn that was yellowish in color, shorter and uneven in height, standing in saturated conditions or had been drown out by standing water.

The largest amount of standing water was found between Champaign and Danville and then again in northwestern Indiana. This is purely a guess on my part, but between the two states I would estimate that there are less than a half a million acres (including both corn and soybeans) that would need to be replanted if it dries out in time to replant.

That assessment was as of last Wednesday and there has been a lot more heavy rainfall across Illinois and Indiana since then, including as I write this report (Monday afternoon). Therefore, I think there is a lot more standing water in Illinois and Indiana than what I observed five days ago.

I thought the soybeans did not look as good as the corn. The tallest soybeans were less than six inches tall and most of the soybeans had just emerged or were still emerging. The soybean color was not very good, but that is typical for this time of the year especially if the soil is saturated. The soybeans are very small and that makes them more susceptible to saturated conditions than the taller corn. It was too early to accurately judge the plant populations, but when soybeans are small they don't like "wet feet", so I suspect that the plant population will be less than optimum in some of the saturated fields.

When there is too much water, it is always a "two edged sword" with some fields suffering from the saturated conditions while other areas prosper from the good soil moisture. Generally though, the crops in the two states would benefit from dryer and sunnier conditions.