Aug 21, 2019

Rains Benefit U.S. Crops, slow Crop Development Main Concern

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Corn - Weekend rains were generally heavier than expected especially in the western Corn Belt where the crop was already performing the best. Welcomed rainfall also fell in some of the dryer areas of the eastern Corn Belt although they were not as heavy as in the western areas. These rains will help the latest planted corn that is in the midst of pollination and early grain fill. The general lack of extreme heat will also help to extend the existing moisture.

The weather has been improving for the last several weeks and I am now a little more optimistic concerning the corn yields, but it is all going to come down to if the late planted corn has time to mature. I have had a neutral bias for a number of weeks, but if the weather continues to improve, I might even start to have a slighter higher bias. The U.S. corn crop still faces many obstacles with the most important being delayed development.

Short Trip Report - Eastern Illinois and western Indiana - We took a short trip across eastern Illinois and western Indiana on Saturday and I thought the corn actually looked better than I had anticipated. Recent rains, including those on Saturday, have benefited the crop especially the late planted corn that is just recently pollinating.

The later planted corn is shorter than normal and more uneven than normal and it is going to be a race to reach maturity before frost, but the recent weather has benefited the crop. Some of the corn is still showing signs of previous moisture stress with the bottom leaves being fired, but it did not appear to be any worse than it was a couple of weeks ago. The weekend rains came at an opportune time for the later planted corn. The rains were not universal in coverage, but they helped no doubt.

The U.S. corn crop is 95% silking compared to 100% last year and 99% for the 5-year average. The corn is 55% dough compared to 83% last year and 76% for the 5-year average. The corn is 15% dent compared to 41% last year and 30% for the 5-year average. The pattern remained the same with the most delayed corn development in the eastern Corn Belt.

The corn in Ohio is 83% silking (average is 99%), Indiana is 89% (average is 100%), Michigan is 81% (average is 96%), and Illinois is 96% (average is 100%). Some of the corn in the eastern Corn Belt is pollinating even later than I anticipated and I worry about the yield potential for the latest planted corn.

Soybeans - The weather has generally improved over the last week or two and the weekend rains certainly benefited the soybean crop. We always say that August is the most important month for soybeans, but this year the planting was so delayed that September may turn out to be the "new August" as the most important month for the soybeans, especially the latest planted soybeans. The weather during September will go a long way in determining the soybean yields especially in the eastern Corn Belt.

Short Trip - Eastern Illinois and western Indiana - On our short trip I thought the soybeans looked better than expected. The early planted soybeans have put on some growth and look OK. Many of the later planted soybeans are still very short for the third week of August with a lot of fields less than knee high, but the recent weather has benefited the crop.

Weather on Saturday was warm and rainy, and I did not see any apparent moisture stress. The soybeans generally had a good dark green color and we did not see any signs of the soybean leaves starting to turn yellow. The biggest problem for the soybeans is how short they are for this late in the growing season. It is hard to believe how many soybean fields are still less than knee high with isolated fields only a foot tall or less. It's going to be a race to the finish if they mature before the first frost. The weather during the remaining growing season needs to be "Goldilocks Perfect" for the late planted soybeans - warm, sunny, ample rainfall, and a later-than-normal frost.

The U.S. soybean crop is 90% blooming compared to 99% last year and 96% for the 5-year average. The soybeans are 68% setting pods compared to 90% last year and 85% for the 5-year average.

Soybean development continues to be the slowest in the eastern Corn Belt. The soybeans in Ohio are 81% blooming (average is 97%), Indiana is 81% (average is 97%), Michigan is 83% (average is 96%), and Illinois is 89% (average is 98%). Ohio is 54% setting pods, Indiana is 50%, Michigan is 47%, and Illinois is 67%. These late developing soybeans are still trying to flower and set pods and they will need to be frost-free at least until mid-October if not longer