Corn yield potential in western Iowa was above average as favorable weather during planting and late in the growing season boosted crop prospects, scouts on an annual survey of top U.S. production states said on Wednesday.
Soybean crop potential was more variable, but generally higher than average, scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour said.
“There were struggles in some areas … But overall, the weather in the first fourth of the growing season and the last fourth of the season has been very conducive for a strong crop,” said Brent Judisch, a farmer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, and a scout on the tour.
Corn plant development was more advanced than normal as hot early-season weather accelerated growth. But temperatures have moderated recently, which should help plants fatten corn kernels and limit the impact of stressful midseason conditions on yields, scouts said.
“We thought that the quick-maturing crop was going to cause some issues, but recent weather has been very good,” Judisch said.
Scouts on one route through Woodbury and Plymouth counties estimated average corn yields at 201 bushels per acre (bpa), up from 179 bpa in the same region last year and the three-year average of 183.5. Another route through Pottawattamie, Harrison and Crawford counties estimated average corn yields at 193.7 bpa, versus 181.6 last year and an average of 181.9 bpa.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this month projected Iowa’s average corn yield at 202 bpa, on par with 2017, which was the second-highest yield on record for the country’s top corn state.
Soybean pod counts along the first route averaged 1,013 pods per 3-by-3-foot plot, versus 1,064 pods last year and the three-year average of 1,186. The second route calculated 1,416 pods per plot, well above the 1,149 in the same region during last year’s tour and the three-year average of 1,249.
Scouts do not estimate soy yields but instead estimate pods per 9 square feet to gauge yield potential.
The USDA is projecting Iowa’s soybean yields at 59 bpa, the second-largest on record for the No. 2 soybean state.
The western leg of the tour began in South Dakota and the eastern leg began in Ohio, with the two groups set to converge in Minnesota on Thursday. Pro Farmer, the news and marketing wing of Farm Journal, will release its estimates of U.S. crop production on Friday, drawing from data collected on the tour and other sources.
Source: Karl Plume, Reuters
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