Crop tour confirms record estimates

Crop tour confirms record estimates

BEMENT — Expectations of a record corn crop gained support from scouting reports in the Piatt County area this week, with many locations estimating yields of well over 200 bushels per acre.

"These are the highest numbers I've seen from crop tours in the 13 or 14 years I've been with the company," said Derrick Bruhn, grain merchandising manager for Monticello-based Toplight Grain Co., in announcing the figures Tuesday.

Get more ag news Wednesday at 4:20 on WDWS with Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

The overall average yield for Topflight's territory — which covers Piatt County, western Champaign County and eastern Macon County — was 210 bushels per acre. But that estimate was based on the traditional assumption of 90,000 seeds per bushel.

If test weights for corn are high, as many farmers expect they will be, and it takes only 80,000 seeds to make a bushel, the overall yield average for Topflight's territory would bump up to 236 bushels per acre.

Bruhn said he's optimistic about the quality of the corn, with very little mold spotted in fields and few signs of tipback damage.

Unlike the last four years, plants have stayed green well into August, having sufficient moisture.

"The stalks aren't cannibalizing themselves to feed the ears," he said.

The Cisco area in western Piatt County had the highest average in Topflight's territory — 243 bushels per acre — while the Pierson area in southeastern Piatt County had the lowest — 185 bushels per acre.

The area around Seymour in western Champaign County averaged 199 bushels per acre, and that was pushed down by fields that were hampered with standing water early in the season.

The field with the best yield was one northeast of Monticello that had an estimated average of 298 bushels per acre, Bruhn said. But that field was relatively densely planted, with a population of 38,000 plants per acre.

The good report extended to soybeans as well.

"I'm probably as optimistic about beans as I am about corn," Bruhn told more than 100 area producers and landowners who crowded into Bement's Second Story Banquet Center to hear the crop-tour results.

Those surveying area soybean fields found an average of 55 pods per plant, considerably higher than last year's average of 32 pods per plant. The Cisco area again provided the highest count, with an average of 68 pods per plant.

Topflight General Manager Scott Docherty said he expects harvest to run from mid-September to mid-November, which he said is typical. He said the biggest crops in recent years came in 2007 and 2009 — but in 2009, harvest ran late.

Guest speaker Steve Freed, vice president of research for ADM Investor Services, said record corn, soybean and wheat crops are expected globally.

"It's not just here in the U.S. that we have big crops. There are big crops around the world," he said.

Giving his own analysis of developments around the world, Freed said there are reports that unrest in Ukraine may have resulted in a loss of 15 percent of that nation's corn crop. He said world stocks of soybeans and wheat are at record highs, and Illinois has the best corn crop in the country this year, in terms of its condition.

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