2017 Crop tour wrap up

Here are my final thoughts from this year’s tour.  It was copied from the blog so no new insights since 7-3.

1.  Indiana has little chance to be average.  Warren and Benton Counties are typically two of the best counties in the State.  We traveled both and found, replanted fields, low plant stands (in fields that were left), and overall water damage.  The area had a TOUGH spring that will certainly continue into summer and make fall a mess.

2.  Illinois and Iowa both have areas that need rain BEFORE pollination.  We drove 1670 miles and found several counties that need a drink before we get to pollination.  Typical of every year but prevalent this year are large areas of dry soils.  A big part of Central Illinois and NW Iowa need a drink soon.

3.  75% of Iowa has more than adequate moisture.  We found the NE quadrant with enough moisture to make it all the way through pollination.  Northern Illinois certainly has enough moisture as well.

4.  Minnesota has the best corn crop we have seen in the 5 years we have visited.  BIG plant stands (both were slightly over 40,000 ppa) and plenty of moisture.  I tweeted out pictures of the mud on my shoes after being in those fields.

5.  Iowa farms all look like they were planted in the same week.  Never have we seen so little variability.  V7-V10 caught every field (the the average being V10).  What this means is watch the heat in Iowa July 10-24.  I believe 85% of Iowa will pollinate in that time frame.

6.  Iowa farmers have embraced high plant stands.  We found that 36,000 was a low plant stand in Iowa.  Seed dealers must have cut some deals or somehow convinced everyone in the state to plant thicker.

7.  Illinois will be average.  Southern IL is behind and doesn’t typically change the overall state yield unless they are great.  Central Illinois is good but spotty.  East Central IL had one of the biggest replant years ever for corn.  Northern Illinois looks typical (though a little behind normal crop progress).

8.  Overall there are certainly enough acres to justify the USDA June 30 report.  I would call the crop 10 days behind normal overall.  Mid-July weather will be critical for heat especially.  If we remain cool, I expect this crop to be average overall.  All bets are off if it gets hot.

9.  One comment on soybeans.  They are small; I get it.  Even the early planted soybeans look smaller than we would expect for this time of year.  However soybeans have an incredible ability to make up for lack of height or maturity.  I would suggest that with an additional 6 million acres we have little chance to hit the trend line yield; it doesn’t matter.  There are so many acres that total production is a BIG number that could be problematic on the World supply demand sheets.

10.  Thanks to everyone who followed along and tweeted/messaged at us.  It is a grind to see that many fields in so many miles.  WE appreciate all of the encouragement and hope that you all found something interesting in our reports.

2017 Crop Tour

Follow along as we tour Western Indiana, Illinois, Southern Minnesota and Iowa to assess the potential of this year’s crops (1650 plus miles in 3 days). This will be our 4th tour.  We went the first time in 2011, then again in 2012, took 2013, 2014 and 2015 off, they resumed in 2016 and now in 2017.  Many of the fields we have been in multiple times so we have some history.  Each year we add a few and subtract one or two.

The idea has always been to get a pre-fourth of July look at the crops to help with marketing the balance of the summer.  Along the way, I feel like we always pick up a new item or two to add to our knowledge base.

Use the link below to follow our 3 day tour.  We post twice a day in video form and two to three times a day in written form our results.  Check it out and let me know your thoughts.


Harvest results are in

2016 was certainly an interesting crop harvest season.  In central Illinois, we had a very warm somewhat wet season.  We expected to harvest our largest crop ever and we feel just short of that expectation.  When the final bins are emptied and all of the sheets tallied it appears that we will harvest the second largest corn crop and and the second largest soybean crop ever!

The harvest season was longer than our norm.  It really felt like we would be substantially complete by October 15th (45-55 days) and the actual date was closer to November 1 and final date was November 16th.  60-75 day harvest seasons are really hard on our farm operators and their families.  Long hours and short nights are the norm during harvest.  The sooner we are able to wrap up harvest the sooner we can get our friends rested and recovered.  Thankfully we made it through yet another season with no major injuries or major problems with our farms.

December brings planning season where our operators make their way into our office and we plan for the next season.  It is a time I relish and really enjoy catching up.  It is a time we can relax, reflect and put our thoughts and wishes together to present to our clients/owners for the next year.  It is a time where my time is precious and my phone is busy.  Accountants enjoy tax season; farmers enjoy planting and harvest seasons; I enjoy the year-end planning season!

Wishing you all a fun December!

Harvest has begun in Central Illinois

Harvest if off and running here around Central Illinois.   I traveled last week in Iowa and found that they virtually had not started anything but Seed Corn harvest.  I would expect that we will get a good week in here.  Some of the early yield reports are all over the board.  I am hearing anything from 270 bushel per acre corn down to 100 (not here in Central IL) and 40 to 80 bushels per acre for soybeans.  The one constant is the ear diseases in all areas.

The very wet August contributed to the rise in ear rots.  Ear rots typically engross the majority of an ear of corn making it very difficult to harvest and making it undesirable for the end user (elevator or buyer of the crop).  There may be a single ear in a row that has this damage or several ears in an area of the field.  The elevator “grades” the grain as it is delivered, scores it and applies discounts per their schedule.  A severely damaged load was delivered in the south and the discount was $1.40 per bushel for the whole load.  Right now I don’t expect much discount but should harvest be delayed due to excess moisture it could be more of a problem.  I have attached a picture to show what I am talking about.


I will update the blog in a couple weeks as we continue to progress in Harvest 2016.

Welcome to our updated web site

Feel free to browse and send me back your comments.  I will use this section to update everyone on important issues in respect to crops, farm ownership, farm investment and anything else that I think would be of interest.

This is an opportunity for you the client, the reader to interact as well.  I am very open to discussions on a variety of topics.  If there is something that you think may be of interest to others or yourself, please just ask.

My second post will be early next week as I discuss corn crop potential after this very warm summer.  We are finding some early surprises as we visit fields and estimate yield potential.  I have a couple of thoughts already but want to add facts to illustrate what I believe is going on the farm!