07-24-2012 05:59 AM - last edited on 07-24-2012 09:41 AM by Jeff_a_Caldwell
Here's a couple photos of what things look like on the tour in central Indiana. Ouch. Here's a little more from the early stops on the tour this morning.
Day 2: Indianapolis, IN to Bloomington, IL
Before I get into the crop tour stuff, I notice the farm markets are down hard, overnight. Europe's debt crisis and a wetter forecast seem to be putting the markets in a corrective mode. Meanwhile, Citigroup announced Tuesday that it will up its 3-month price forecast to $18.75 from $16.50. Now, let's get into the crop tour thoughts.
Crop Tour Thoughts:
The cropscouts on this tour have been through the northern part of Ohio and the eastcentral counties in Indiana. Today, we start in Indianapolis work our way to Bloomington, IL. Now, I know we are out here a little early, trying to figure out this year's crop. Considering that the grain on the ears of corn are still filling, and the soybean plants are either just finishing up flowering or putting on pods, there's no doubt there is still time left for the crops to finish. But, one thing we can gauge is the health of these crops.
There are a few things that stick out for me. One happened at a gas station in a small town in Indiana. A local (not a farmer), sitting in the station drinking coffee, told me the area's sweetcorn this year was bad. He then grabs the latest edition of the local paper and says, "This tells it all right here." The paper's headline read: Not So Sweet. Under the headline ran a big photo of an ear of sweetcorn that had very few kernels and appeared very short.
The other two things that stick out about this crop are the height and vibrancy (lack of it). Looking at this crop, reminds me a lot of a boxer with buckling knees. Let me illustrate my point and then I'll get back to cropscouting.
Another reporter on this tour noticed this first. But, when you can see people towering over corn in the Midwest, in July, I don't think that is good.
Although we have seen some soybean plants that were as tall as hip-high, this is the norm. Size doesn't always matter in July, for beans. But, we are just seeing way too short of crops. And it's not shown in this photo. But, man are there a lot of weedy fields this year. A lot of fields that even look like the farmer just threw his/her hands up and let them go. I wouldn't be concerned about these short crops, if it wasn't so dry. But, their chances of growing taller and putting on pods are dwindling with the lack of moisture.
And this is my favorite photo, so far. I call this the "What could have been" photo. This ear of corn just looks like it would have had a normal life if it could have had moisture. The ear looked like it was doing all of the right things but growing.
We have a few traders, brokerage firm-types and a few meteorologists on the tour. The weather guys don't see much measurable rain coming, the traders talk about how the avg. yield number needs to be lowered. And I'm just a farmboy at heart. I feel worse and worse for the farmer, after coming out of these corn and soybean fields. This is definitely a year to remember. In fields that look like they will do over 100 bu./acre, I find myself saying "I bet a lot of farmers would take this field this year." And that is not saying much. See slideshow of Ohio crops.
So, onward and upward my friends.
07-24-2012 06:20 AM
Not sure the markets fully comprehend the magnitude of this issue....
07-24-2012 06:29 AM
I agree. The magnitude of the issue is worse than people think. And I think the reason is because of how widespread this drought is this year. I mean, I've traveled through parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and back through a different part of Indiana, and I have seen maybe one, or two, fields that I would call even close to average. The rest is not only below average, but way below average. And by the way, I'm not an agronomist or a plant pathologist. I'm just a guy walking by the house fire saying, "Hey that house is on fire." When a fireman or a fire inspector would notice that not only is it on fire, but there is an LP tank too close to the home and this baby is gonna blow. In other words, I'm doing a surface examination of this crop, when a real crop expert might even be finding bigger issues. So, yes, Missouri and now the talk is Iowa going backwards fast. Well, you take the (I) states that seem to be in crisis mode, I would say the fat lady is either singing or warming up.
07-24-2012 07:11 AM
These crops are still green. If you want a shock, go to Alabama and look at corn thats fence post high and completly dead. Dead as in brown and broken over and not even salvagable as silage or any kind of fodder. Wish I could photo. Tom S. in Tn.
07-24-2012 07:23 AM
Assuming you're coming accross on 74. In between the Oakwood IL and Ogden IL exits have received the most rain in the area. Probably a couple more inches that the rest of the area. If you want to see a little more normal things head south on State Route 49 for about 6 miles just North of Homer and some fields south of Homer. Pretty good idea of how most of the stuff looks on the good dirt in Vermillion and Champaign Counties.
South of Danville towards Georgetown and the IN/IL Stateline is some of the driest conditions we have had around this area.
Thanks again for giving the updates on the tour and you're everyday updates they are greatly appreciated.
Safe travels and try to stay cool!
07-24-2012 10:06 AM
Did my own little tour into the corn field this morning and there are changes out there from 36 hrs ago and after yesterdays little 104+ & wind thing the changes are not for the betterment of 'ol hobbyfarmer. Two more of these and many here in Iowa will be in the market for a large oversided female vocalist too.
Yesterday was a very unkind day for the crops, many farmers appear to be onion farmers.
07-24-2012 10:55 AM
Hey, central, I'm working my way up from the end of the bench and tearing off my warm-ups...waiting for the coach to throw me in there! Ha!
So, has the top come and gone or is this weather got everybody ruffled?
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