Sponsored by:

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 28

Left Ames on Route 30 East.  Drove to Amana, IA. Saw the effects of Friday's rain. Water standing in fields from Ames to Tama.  Not too much damage but Iowa needs a week or two of dry weather for both crops.  Iowa river was way out starting about Tama all the way to Amana. Looks like the bottoms will suffer some yield loss.  From Amana we took I-80 to I-74 in the Quad cities. Generally crops looked good but as anyone knows who travels 80, it is tough to drive and study crops at the same time.  As we crossed the Mississippi we noticed that it was over flood stage and likely to get worse before it gets better.

As we travelled south, we got off of the interstate on to Route 17 in Henry County.  From there headed south to Knox County.  I grew up in this area so I am very familiar with the area.  Corn and soybeans looked great. They look like they have the biggest crop in years.  Corn was some of the tallest I saw on the entire trip.  Looks like pollination right after the 4th.  Soybeans look good as well, but not as big relative to the corn.  Also saw the effects from lack of early season weed control.  Big water hemp and "burners" were setting the beans back a bit.

Arrived back in Champaign about 10:00 after a 1,072 mile tour.  After reflecting for a day, my thoughts are as follows:

1.  Corn looked great everywhere.  Stands were good, progress was slightly ahead of normal.  A friend who monitors growth said this morning corn in Champaign grew 3.5 feet last week.  Not hard to believe that wasn't the case everywhere I travelled.

2.  Soybeans looked good, but not the overall great appearance of the corn crop.  Soybeans have a miraculous way of putting it all together to take a good crop to a great crop with the right weather.  Most of Iowa and Parts of Illinois need sunshine not rain to improve the soybeans.

3.  Corn acreage is down slightly and soybean acreage is larger.  We have been hearing this might be the case.  After this trip, I believe it. It appears that farmers trended back to a more traditional corn soybean rotation.  Both states have more corn than soybeans, but acreage is closer to 55-45 or 60-40 than the last few years where 70-30 was more the norm.

4.  Weed resistance is real.  We are more fortunate in East Central Il than those in Western Il and Iowa. Several fields are going to have uncontrolled water hemp and rag weed.  We need to do a better job getting these weeds killed at a smaller size and we need to use the appropriate chemistry to kill the weeds.

5.  Final thought.  I would get your beans sold.  If you feel the need protect the upside, use an option strategy.  I think bean prices are going to fade into harvest assuming any sort of normal weather.  For corn I think the crop is big, but maybe a reduced acreage will hold the production to a manageable level.  Again this crop is big, could get bigger with the right weather.  Wide basis, storage issues will exist this fall.

I hope anyone who read this found something worth while.  Thanks for reading.  Feel free to send your comments.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 27 2014

Day 2 started in Ames, IA. From Ames I traveled west through Boone to Grand Junction.  This area was the recipient of about 2" of rain on the 26th. The corn looked very good, but a very small water holes were starting to show.  My opinion is that a few water holes makes a big crop come fall.  Much like the day before the crop progress was V-10 to V-14. I saw no reason that the corn in Greene County Iowa should be anything but great.  Conversely the soybean crop looked a little less than perfect.  The weather to this point of the year has really accentuated the iron chlorosis in many fields.  Usually not a big problem, iron chlorosis gives an appearance of excess moisture stress.  The yellowing  of plants was obvious in nearly every field, some worse than others.  The crop was all V-2 to V-4 in the area.

From Grand Junction I continued west to Jefferson then about 25 miles north to Callendar, Iowa. This is about 15 miles southwest of Fort Dodge.  At this point of the day (9:30), it began what was the pattern for the remainder of the day...rain.  The corn and soybeans looked similar to my first stop.  Great looking corn with a few small water logged areas and soybeans that needed sunshine and heat but looking ok.  In my discussion with a local farmer, his thought was this was the best growing corn crop on a few years. I couldn't disagree with that statement. Corn was similar height to other areas but more even that some areas.  I didn't see a bad field of corn in a 10 miles radius as we drove around. He did talk about the difficulty controlling water hemp in this area.  It was obvious that the chemical program has included a "burner" post pass.  I saw about 20% of the fields that had been sprayed recently and showing the effects of the chemistry.  Having been away from that sensation for several years, it did bring back memories of why I didn't like that choice of herbicides. But it appears to be a necessary evil in this part of the Cornbelt at this point in time.

As I continued to travel north to the Fort Dodge area and then back East on Route 20 towards Iowa Falls, the rain continued, very heavy at times.  The further I traveled East the worse the fields looked.  As I crossed into Hardin County, there were fields of corn and soybeans showing significant water stress.  I later found out that this was an area that had received 5-6" of rain last week.  It coupled with this weeks rain  has actually hurt the low lying areas of the fields. Corn that was V-5 to V-8 was dead or dying from the excess water in those low lying parts of the fields.  Soybeans were suffering the same fate.  As I turned South towards my stop North of Eldora, I saw signs that this area south of 20 had 1. Received less heavy rain or 2. The heavy rains had gotten away faster. The stop and conversation in Eldora was in a bean field. Beans looked very good (average V-4).  There were some areas of the field with standing water from the previous days rainfall, but it didn't appear to damage the crop.  I still saw the iron chlorosis in this area but it didn't seem quite as pronounced as earlier in the day.  The corn in southern Hardin County looked solid, but as stated above there were a few areas of actual crop loss due to excess rain this past couple of weeks.

Next I traveled straight South back towards Nevada Iowa.  The rain started to subside but there was several fields with water standing in the rows.  Not a bad thing unless they continue to get more rain over the next few days (oh by the way, that was the forecast for the weekend).  Corn and soybean progress was a near cookie cutter to the beginning of the day.  Corn looked very good, beans with iron chlorosis need sunshine and heat, but look ok.

The day ended after what was a 250 mile circle around Ames to the north.  While I talked about moisture excess, I believe this area at this time of year has great prospects for yields.  I would echo the thoughts from everyone that I have talked to on the trip, there are more soybeans planted this year than in the past. What to take away, get your beans sold.  I think we are in for a big crop due to big acres.  A great corn crop is going to produce a big yield per acre, but maybe it won't be so burdensome on the balance sheet since we have less acres.  Does it sound like I don't have enough corn sold before the report on Monday?  That would be correct.  I am officially in the hope phase of my corn marketing plan!

Day 3 will include travel back to Champaign through central Iowa and along 74 through Western Il.  A stop in Knox Co. IL to be sure.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 26, 2014

I left Champaign sans Jimmy P and headed to Peoria, Il. I have watched these crops all spring and nothing had changed. They started off well and have progressed through to now at a normal pace. Corn ranges from V-8 to V-14, no holes, no problems. Soybeans were slightly more variable ranging from V1-V6, but looked tremendous. 

From Peoria, I took St Route 116 west to US 34 in Burlington, IA.  Again crops were a carbon copy of what I had seen from champaign to Peoria.  One notable exeception was the glaring lack of control of water hemp in bean fields. It was obvious who used a good residual program and who didn't. 12-24" water hemp is going to be a challenge to control at this point. Otherwise these crops looked great.  

The afternoon was spent taking US 34 from Burlington to Ottumwa and 92 to Indianola, IA.  This part of Iowa is arguably one of the toughest parts of the state to grow corn and soybeans.  Overall the crop conditions exceeded my expectations. As a general rule crop progress was a week or two behind Illinois, but they all looked great.  At Indianola, we hit the first off several rainstorms. It dropped about .7 in 5 minutes along with two minutes of marble sized hail. As I visited a farmer a few miles west, they had not received by a tenth or two.  Des Moines in areas received 3-6 inches.  Spotty rain to be sure. Crops looked very good around Indianola.  The farmers thought that the crops were off to a little later start than the past years, but still looked good with better moisture than the past two years.  They are preparing for a big crop.

Off to Ames to spend the night.  

Day 2 results in North Central Iowa later today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 2014

I am heading to central Iowa over the next two days.  I will send back some images of the trip and some thoughts from local farmers as I stop to visit.  East Central Illinois couldn't look much better right now.  A few areas have had too much rain, but overall this appears to be the best crop so far since 2009.