On day three, the final route of this year’s crop tour, we traveled through central Illinois and back to St. Louis.
The corn crop through central Illinois was mixed. We found pockets of obvious stress, but in most cases corn looked good from outside the field, but once inside a few rows, evidence of significant moisture stress became apparent. This was more subtle that the firing and plant stress that we noted on Monday in Iroquois, County near Kankakee, IL but dryness was negatively impacting the crop in part of central IL as well. Some fields in this area from just east of Peoria south to Lincoln, IL had high ear counts, but ear size may be a limiting factor. Early fields were in the milk-to dough stage, which was the most mature corn we found on the entire crop tour. Ear length was well below normal in the higher stress fields. With recent rains and improved weather during August, the later corn that was just silking may have a better chance to fill. Even though this area has some issues, our rating of the crop was better than it has been in the past few years because this region had problems not only with the 2012 drought, but yields were also under some pressure from dryness in 2011 and 2010 as well.
The prospects for soybeans in central Illinois remained strong as we concluded our 2013 tour and headed back into St Louis on Tuesday afternoon. To the extent that there are any distinguishing characteristics among the fields, it was largely limited to subtle variations in growth and development. The outward appearance of the crop in this key growing region of Illinois is among the best for our records. Weather stands as a risk as it would any year with most of the main reproductive period ahead. Thus there is still the potential for destructive weather. Weather was cooperating with the crop today, as there was steady rain on us most of the morning in central Illinois. It was precisely the type of weather that was needed for the crop on July 30 following recent drier than normal conditions.