This blog item is being written and posted Wednesday August 21, and it's the beginning of the final two days of the Pro Farmer crop tour. Here's where the headline checking will truly get done, as the tour moves through Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. We all know what that means--the areas that had heaviest rain and the most extensive planting delays now get combed through by the tour scouts.
I won't guess as to what the scouts will come up with during these final two days. It was interesting to read in the tour article by Pam Smith and Katie Micik from Tuesday that a field in part of the wettest-spring area in Illinois turned up a corn yield of just 81 bushels per acre.
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It was also instructive to find out about the many instances where tip-back in corn was noted. We have all seen or heard, or made, comments about this condition earlier this season since pollination finished--and it is indeed showing up.
And there could be more instances of such dryness-related matters as we finish up this season. We know that soil moisture continues to dwindle--Iowa topsoil this week is 65 percent short to very short, with subsoil rated 59 percent short to very short for example. Also, the six to ten-day forecast has a basically hot and dry pattern for the entire Corn Belt. Both the U.S. and Euro forecast models have upper-atmosphere high pressure (ridge) sprawled across the central part of the country. During summer, the intensity level of this ridge translates to surface temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit category.
Will that level of heat be helpful to crops--it's open for question. We have seen similar occurrences of such heat in late summer in the past few years (not 2012 of course) that have served to reduce the final yield.