Lush soybean fields point to bumper harvest in central Illinois -tour

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Soybean plants in central and west-central Illinois, the top growing U.S. soy state, had abundant pods that pointed to a bumper harvest, scouts on an annual crop tour found on Wednesday.

The corn crop in this part of Illinois, which trails only Iowa in corn production, also was above average although some fields showed signs of stress from dry growing conditions.

“It’s a heavily podded soy crop,” said Brian Grete, the eastern director of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. “They’re beautiful-looking soybeans … and they got moisture. Many of these areas had rains recently and again this week.”

Strong findings from the four-day crop tour, which wraps up on Thursday in Minnesota, have contributed to weak prices for Chicago Board of Trade soybean and corn futures. Forecasts for bin-busting U.S. crops could anchor prices even if the United States resolves trade disputes with top soy importers China, Mexico and Turkey.

There was an average of 1,607.4 soybean pods in a 3-by-3-foot square after nine stops in the Illinois counties of McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, Fulton, Knox and Rock Island. That is up sharply from last year’s crop tour findings in these areas of 1,230.5 pods and the three-year tour average of 1,218.6 pods.

Corn yield potential averaged 198.3 bushels per acre, above the tour average of 185.1 bpa last year and the three-year average of 186.6 bpa. However, the average was below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast on Aug. 10 for a record-large Illinois corn yield of 207.

While soybean fields generally were lush, some corn fields had ears that did not pollinate the entire ear – known as “tip back.”

“I’m more impressed with the bean crop here than the corn crop,” Grete said. “The corn crop is good, but could have been better. Tip back robbed them of some yield potential.”

Both crops were largely planted on time and warm temperatures should result in an earlier-than-normal harvest, he added.

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