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Big letdown for western Illinois corn as harvest ramps up

Harvest has begun for the U.S. Crop Watch corn and soybeans and the surrounding areas, and the early results are mixed though distinctly disappointing in western Illinois.

The western Illinois producer began harvest on the Crop Watch corn Monday morning, and the yield expectation has plunged to 2.5 from 4.75 previously. That is consistent with other fields that were harvested in the immediate area over the last week.

Each week the 11 Crop Watch producers offer yield expectations on a 1-to-5 scale with a 3 reflecting yield close to farm average, 4 solidly above, and 5 well above average or record yields.

The western Illinois reduction dropped the 11-field, unweighted average corn yield to 3.7 from 3.82 in the prior week because it was partly offset by half-point increases in Kansas and Indiana. No other changes were made to corn yield this week.

The western Illinois corn results were surprising because kernel and plant counts were strong and the weather was reasonably favorable. The area has battled a host of corn diseases, including tar spot, and that significantly lightened the test weight, something that can be hard to gauge prior to harvest.

The Kansas corn was harvested on Thursday with a final yield score of 3, slightly above the previously expected 2.5. The southeastern Illinois corn was also picked on Thursday and yield came in at the expected 5, the same as last year’s field. The Kansas location went through a prolonged dry stretch in mid-summer, but the southeastern Illinois fields had largely ideal rainfall.

More than half of the Indiana soybeans were harvested Sunday evening, and the yield rating of 3 should hold. The western Iowa soybeans should be ready for harvest this week, and the producer increased the yield score to 5 from 4.5 last week due to strong results in the area.

But four other producers shaved their soybean yield score by a quarter-point due to excessively hot and/or dry late season conditions. Those producers are in eastern Iowa, western Illinois, South Dakota and Ohio.

The adjustments on soybeans reduced the 11-field yield average to 3.61 from 3.66 last week. There are some possible upsides for soybean yield, including in North Dakota where the producer says some nearby fields yielded a bit better than expected. The Kansas grower also notes the beans there are staying greener longer than expected.

If the weather co-operates, most of the Crop Watch soybean fields should be harvested by the end of September. Early to mid-October is a good target for corn fields in northwestern areas, which often harvest the yellow grain later than in the core Midwest. None of the producers have reported any harvest delays in their areas so far.

Rain is forecast early this week in parts of the Midwest, particularly in the east, though the rest of the month is likely to remain dry. Western areas are expected to stay dry in the next couple of weeks with warmer-than-normal temperatures. Normal to cooler temperatures are expected for central and eastern areas this week.

The following are the states and counties of the 2021 Crop Watch corn and soybean fields: Griggs, North Dakota; Kingsbury, South Dakota; Freeborn, Minnesota; Burt, Nebraska; Rice, Kansas; Audubon, Iowa; Cedar, Iowa; Warren, Illinois; Crawford, Illinois; Tippecanoe, Indiana; Fairfield, Ohio.
Soure: Reuters (Reporting by Karen Braun; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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