A summary report from the July Crop Tour released Tuesday confirmed what the world already has learned: "The U.S. corn crop is in very bad shape due to extreme heat and drought." Soybeans in many places along the tour looked better than expected, the organizers said, but without rain over the next few weeks are headed in the same direction as corn.
The July Crop Tour, which encountered some historic drought damage in its route across five Corn Belt states, ended on a high note in Nebraska on Friday, where a field was predicted to wind up in the 200 plus yield category--despite not a drop of rain since June 23. But earlier in the day, the tour encountered plenty of the sober evidence of drought.
As the July Crop Tour kicked off the fifth and final day, the group experienced a first for the week--morning dew on the plants. "These are some of the best soybeans we've seen on the whole tour," said guide Kyle Tapley, MDA EarthSat ag meteorologist.
As the July Crop Tour traveled through the heart of Iowa on Thursday, it found generally better yields than seen back in the eastern Corn Belt earlier in the week. Yield checks projected 162 bu/ac for the parts of the state covered. But, more figuring is needed to reflect the full effects of the drought, one farmer believes.
The July Crop Tour moved through Iowa Thursday, for a while encountering RAGBRAI, the world's largest organized bicycle ride, with some 10,000 people in tow. One thing the two tours shared today were some roller coaster hills in this part of the state. The "ride" on the Crop Tour, though, was still showing more downs than ups.
Commodity traders are following the July Crop Tour with high interest, says Matt Guth, a futures and options specialist with RCM asset management in Chicago. Guth and colleague Frank DiVito, were helping sample crops at today’s late morning stop in Sangamon County, Illinois. They’ve been on tour since Monday’s start in Ohio, and believe there may still be some surprises with this year's crops.
First stop of the July Crop Tour on Wednesday at a field in Logan County, Illinois, turned up the best-looking crop of the week thus far. The corn sample averaged about 197 bu/ac. That compares with last year’s county average of 173.4 bu/ac.