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Friday, July 1, 2011

Eastern Illinois 7/1/2011

Traveling through Iroquois county today was a real eye opener.  By far the worst corn and most uneven that I have seen in several years.  I know the area having worked in the geography for 24 years, but I did not expect to see water damage to this extent.  Several fields looked like the pictures below.  These were between Watseka and Sheldon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 4

Started this morning in LaCrosse Wisconsin at 55 degrees.  This cold weather is getting old!  We traveled east to Sauk County south of Baraboo, WI.

Our first stop was at a seed corn field.  This was the first field that we have been in since Tuesday afternoon that we did not have to scrap mud off of our shoes.  It was moist in the area but not saturated like so many stops before.  The plant population was 35,000 ppa at growth stage V8.  We would give the field conditions a score of 10.  The soil corn yield rating was 136-155 BPA.  This field was very representative of the neighborhood and better than any of the seed fields we have been scouting on the trip.

Sauk County WI
Our second stop of the day was in Ogle County just south of Davis Junction, IL.  This corn on corn field looked awesome.  It was the tallest field on the trip.  It was at a growth stage between V8 and V9 and had a plant population of 35,000 ppa.  The field was rated as a 10 and was very representative for the area.  Again no mud to scrap off our shoes but the soil was moist.  The soil corn yield rating was 178 BPA.  Jim Prough is in the picture to give scale to the height of the corn.

Ogle County IL

Our final stop of the day was in LaSalle County just south of Wenona, IL.  The field of corn had a plant pop of  33,000 ppa and a growth stage between V8 and V9.  The condition score was a 9 and was representative of the area.  The soil corn yield rating was 160 BPA.  This field was similar to the other stops of the day in that it was not saturated. I am standing in the field to give scale to the corn.                             

LaSalle County IL

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 3

We started in Omaha at a smooth 55 degrees this morning!  The sun was out and the wind was blowing about 20 MPH.  We traveled west towards Fremont NE.  Our general observation for Eastern Nebraska was that it is very wet.  It appears that as of June 23 that no center pivot irrigation has operated in 2011.  There was water standing in nearly every field.  Crops went from hurt in some areas to not showing any stress from water at all.  It appears to have rained significantly in the last four days.  Soybeans continue to look more stressed than corn.
Our first stop of the morning was just North of Fremont, NE in Dodge County.  The random field that was used in the sample was seed corn production.  The stand was poor and variable.  It ranged from 17,000 in one row to 40,000 in the next row.  It was at the V5 growth stage and rated a 7 on the condition scale.  The soil corn yield rating was 75-99 BPA.  This field has the ability to irrigate, but the pivots have not run this season.

Dodge County NE

The second stop was in Dakota County, NE southwest of Sioux City, IA.  The random field was planted to corn.  It was extremely wet.  We kicked up a family of Ducks off of the water standing in the field.  The field already had been replanted once and the replant corn was very poor.  The plant population was 32,000 ppa at the V5 growth stage.  The condition of the crop was rated as a 5.  The soil rating was 109-117 corn BPA.

Dakota County NE

We traveled across the Missouri River to the east into Northwest Iowa.  The third stop was in O’Brien County, IA north of Sheldon.  This field was very wet as well.  It almost appeared that it had been replanted.  The population for the corn field was 28,000 ppa at V3 growth stage.  We rated it as a 6 on the condition scale.  The soil rating was 156-167 BPA.

O'Brien County IA

We continued driving northeast into Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes and 20,000 ponds in the fields.  Western Minnesota was very wet.  Soybeans continued to be a concern for plant health.  Corn was not as even as Iowa and further behind although not significantly.
The first stop in MN was in Jackson County northeast of Brewster. N The corn was in good condition at a rating of 8.  The population was 31,000 ppa at the V5 growth stage.  The field was wet.  The soil corn yield rating was 145-151 BPA.

Jackson County MN

The fifth stop was in Waseca County west of Janesville, MN.  The plant population was 31,000 ppa at the V4 growth stage.  The field condition was 8 and the soil rating was 151-156 BPA.  The field was more variable as was the area.  It appeared to be planted about three weeks ago.

Waseca County MN

The final stop in Minnesota was in Dodge County, east of Claremont.  The field was the driest field of the day.  It only took 5 minutes to scrap the mud off of our shoes.  The field was planted to corn at 33,000 ppa.  The crop was between V5 and V6 and had a condition of 9.  The soils were rated at 168-174 BPA.

Dodge County MN

As we finish our trip through MN, we note that we have not seen one field unplanted.  We did see a few fields that were planted in the last week, but we did not see anything that was going to be prevented plant.  Also in our travels we would say that nearly every river bottom was extremely wet but not totally flooded out.  We concede that our travels did not take us into the severely flooded areas south of Omaha.  We traveled right at 500 miles today!
Check us out tomorrow as we conclude our trip though WI and Northern IL back to Champaign.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 2

General observation it has been wet for some time as very few beans have been sprayed.  Color is pale and weeds are doing just fine.
Iowa River in Belle  Plaine  was out but no flooding in anything but lowlands.  Corn needs sunshine and a period of drying .   Consistently seeing water damage / crop is planted. 

First stop crop was corn.  The was north of Belle Plaine in Benton County .  Field had overall good color low weed pressure but corn was brittle and needs no severe weather/wind.  Corn was consistent with other  fields in the immediate area.   This field was corn following beans at 35,000 at V6 we rated the crop a 9.   Soil corn yield rating was 189-198 BPA 

Benton County IA

Second stop of the day was in Grundy County IA.  The field was planted to seed corn.  Corn had been planted in mid to late May.  The area was wet and crops sounds some slight pressure from water in the lower areas.  The population of the field was 38,000 at V4 growth stage.  The condition of the crop was and 8 out of 10.  This farm had a soil corn yield rating of 209-210 BPA.

Grundy County IA

We traveled north to Eldora and then headed west on SR 30.  The third stop was in Hamilton County IA near Webster City.  This  field also was  seed corn production.  The field was very wet, but great soils.  If we knew the farmer, we would have apologized about dragging some of his field out on the road on our shoes!  The planted population was 38,000 at V6 growth stage.  We rated this as an 8 on the condition scale.  Soil corn yield rating was 199-205 BPA.

Hamilton County Corn


Hamilton County Soybeans

We continued towards the southwest to Carroll County.  Our fourth stop was in a very rolling field of corn in a very hard drizzle.  The population was 35,000 with a condition rating of 8.  The corn was at V6 growth stage.  The soil corn yield rating is 149-153 BPA.

Carroll County IA

As we travel towards Omaha this evening, the area doesn’t look quite as good as North Central Iowa.  This land is not as good and the crops don’t look quite as good either.  However we still would rate them no worse than a 6 in the worst fields and most fields over 7.

During May, the crop progress reports showed Iowa going from 6% planted in the first week of May to 69% after the second week and 92% after three weeks in May.  We found the crops confirmed these reports.  Corn in Iowa is for the most part very even and consistent in the growth stage.  In our random sample we did not find one field of corn following corn.  That seemed strange to us as well.  I would say that we expected to see some bigger corn on the trip in Iowa, but we did not see anything over V8-V9 but most everything is V5 to V9.  Amazing consistency!  Iowa needs dry weather, heat and sun.  The only watch out for Iowa is pollination period.  Since the crop is so even Iowa will be suspect to a hot week of weather during pollination.  However, if they get through that week or 10 days unscathed,  this crop appears to be bullet proof.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 1

Began the day at around 2 pm and benchmarked a local farm in Piatt County.  Corn on Corn planted in early May, 33,000 ppa, V6 and 9 on the condition scale.  Soils rating 175 bu/acre.  We are using a condition scale based on plant health and overall field appearance/potential.  Scale runs from 1 to 10 with 1 being the poor and 10 being excellent.  We also have soils maps rated by corn yield potential.  These are state rankings not ours.  Each State is different.  A 175 in IL is similar to a 200 in IA.

Piatt County IL

Our tour proceeded across the center part of the state on SR 136 (an extremely flat boring road).  As a general rule the crops looked excellent.  Only 2 or 3 fields were not planted to soybeans around Havana, IL.  Fields appeared to be moist to wet with some water standing between the rows in certain areas.

Our 2nd stop was south of Macomb Il in McDonough County.  Field was very wet but very good.  Jim and I took plenty of Western Illinois gumbo soil out of the field on our shoes!  This was on the edge of the area that received 7 to 10 inches of rain last week.  We could not see any obvious signs of damage yet.  A few yellowing areas but nothing severe at all.  Vitals from that corn field:  Planted late April, 36,000 ppa, V8 and 10 on the condition scale.  Soils rating 173 bushels per acre.

McDonough County IL

From that point we headed straight west into Southern IA.  From Keokuk to Mt Pleasant, we saw the poorest looking crops of Day 1.  We commented at one field (not a stop) that we would rate it as a 1 on the condition scale.  We also thought that the wet weather had affected the corn more than the soybeans.  The corn was from VE to V5 and very stunted from prolonged water exposure.  This is a poorer area to begin with, but they have been very unlucky this spring.

Our third stop in Henry County IA was just South of Mt. Pleasant IA.  the results from that stop were as follows:  Corn following soybeans, 36,000 ppa., V5, 5 on the condition scale.  The field had water damage that was similar to other farms in the area but probably looked better than the area.  Soils rating 132-151 bushels per acre.

Henry County IA

The final stop of the day was in Johnson County, IA (10 miles South of Iowa City).  The crops in the area looked less stressed than the area further south.  The field we stopped at was planted into corn with a population of 33,000 at V7 and a crop condition rating of 8.  The areas where water runs across the field were stressed, but the remainder of the field looked good.  Soils rating 193-201 bushels per acre.

Johnson County IA

Arrived in Iowa City at 8:30 pm after driving 328 miles on Day 1.  Tomorrow will be another long day.  We will be traveling the "sweet" spots of Iowa.  I would expect to see very good crops based on what we have seen today.  We will report in tomorrow!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Map of our Route

A little over 1,500 projected miles in some of the best crop growing areas of the Midwest.  The majority of this area is perceived to be "bumper" type yields.  We will put together our impressions of the crop 6 days ahead of the Planted acreage report by the USDA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June Crop Tour

Our group's crop tour, (affectionately named Jim squared) will begin Tuesday June 21.  We will leave Champaign Illinois and arrive that night in Iowa City (via Keokuk, IA).  On Wednesday we will wander from Iowa City through exotic locals such as Belle Plaine, IA, Eldora IA, Auburn, IA and wind up in Omaha, NE.  On Thursday our journey will take us up the Eastern side of NE to Sioux City IA and then to Mankato, MN to our rest area of La Crosse, WI.  Friday we will venture through Southern WI and down to center of IL to our Point of Beginning in Champaign.  All told we expect to travel over 1,500 miles in at least 5 states.

Trip protocol is not exact yet, but we are thinking about stopping every 100-150 miles to take a random stand count and height measurement.  We will of course be snapping pictures of the best looking fields and the worst.  We should see the Mississippi a couple of times and the Missouri River a couple of times.  Our objective is to get a good handle on the crops (mostly corn) in the Western Cornbelt.

Our only hard and fast rule is that we will eat no fast food on the entire trip.  The droid will guide our meals sort of like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Please check back throughout the week as we explore the west!