Editor's note: The following observations were made by Doane crop advisors on Thursday in Iowa and Missouri.
On Thursday we traveled across Iowa’s central and southeastern crop districts and returned to St. Louis. Corn yield prospects in central Iowa are the strongest of the state, particularly from Ames to Marshalltown. Corn exhibited less stress than other areas of Iowa. Ear counts were consistently at 30,000 or higher and ear size was close to average. Yield checks ranged from 145 bpa to near 200 bpa. Overall, most yields are expected to be steady to 20% lower from a year ago.
As we moved further south and east into the southeastern crop district, the condition of the crop deteriorated dramatically. Similar to what we encountered in other parts of Iowa, the crop is under extreme stress. Plants have turned color and in some cases will be ready for harvest within a few weeks. The stress has reduced ear counts and ear size resulting in very poor yield potential. Our field checks indicated yields from 70 to 150 bushels. A few of the better fields could reach 150 bushel, but at the same time, some of the worst fields will produce little if anything. We expect yields to be down about 25% in the southeastern district compared to 2011.
In summary, our estimate for the Iowa corn yield is 117 bpa, resulting in production of 1.58 billion bushels. The yield is down 32% from 172 bpa a year ago and would be the lowest yield since the flood year of 1993. If realized, production would be down 33% from 2.356 billion a year ago. Doane will survey Illinois, Indiana and Ohio early next week so stay alert for updates.
We finished up our western leg of the western Midwest crop tour surveying soybean prospects from Ames in central Iowa southeastward across Iowa and into eastern Missouri. Rains of about one half inch fell overnight in the Ames area and the central Iowa region showed a little more vitality for the crop. Beans from Ames toward Marshalltown were in fairly good condition, although not up to the usual high levels of 50 bushel plus potential. Yields prospects pointed toward 45 to 50 bushels. This was the best large region that we surveyed in Iowa during the three days that we spent some time there. Further to the south and east, crossing over Interstate 80, yield potential deteriorated and we were back to the below average prospects similar to observations from most of the rest of the state. Beans have been impacted by the heat and drought. There is a proliferation of lost blooms to the severe weather. Most of the southeast region missed out on the rains Wednesday night. Plant leaves were rolling from the drought stress and parts of some fields were turning color from the high temperatures. Yield prospects again graded toward the upper 30s to low 40s rather than typical yields toward 50 if not higher.
We have had a chance to summarize our views on the key Iowa crop. Based on conditions in late July found during the tour, Doane pegs the state yield potential at 39 bu/a, which is down from the final yield in 2011 at 50.5 bu/a.
We will resume our tour on Sunday morning heading eastward from St Louis to Ohio as we survey prospects across the eastern Midwest.
For more information of the state of the 2012/13 corn and soybean crop, follow Bill Nelson and Marty Foreman on the 2012 Crop Tour across the Midwest at http://www.doane.com/crop-tour/ or DoageAg on twitter.