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Don Duvall, left, and Brad Gates take corn ear measurements from a field northeast of Norris City during the 25th annual White County Crop Tour.
Photo courtesy of Doug Anderson
Forrest Gump would probably compare crop yield checks this season to a box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re going to get until you get in the field, as evidenced recently by crop tours and surveys the last week of August.
“There’s certainly a lot of variability in the (Indian Creek) township and in the county as well,” said Don Duvall, who took part in the 25th annual White County Crop Tour, sponsored in part by the White County Farm Bureau.
The average ear length in White County this season was estimated at 7 inches, down from 7.3 inches in 2021. Tour participants project an average corn yield in the county of 172 bushels per acre this season compared to the USDA average of 190.7 bushels last season.
Average yield estimates per township in White County ranged from a low of 145.8 to 190.9 bushels per acre.
“Overall, I think everyone was a little disappointed,” said Charlie Nolan, White County Crop Tour participant. “We had a really dry June.”
Moving north into central Illinois, the First Mid Ag Services 26th annual McLean County Crop Tour found a wide range of corn yield estimates, from 138 to 276.4 bushels per acre.
The tour projects an overall corn yield of 209.46 bushels per acre in McLean County this season, just below the five-year tour average of 211.1 bushels.
Wild swings in rainfall totals, temperature variations and widespread planting delays played a key role in the crop variations. The U.S. Drought Monitor showed drought easement in east-central Illinois to end August, with the ranking downgraded from severe to moderate in Champaign County for the first time in weeks. But there was a slight drought expansion in western Illinois to close the month.
“We’re fortunate in northwest Illinois. We’ve had timely rains,” Rock Katschnig, Henry County Farm Bureau member, told FarmWeek at the Farm Progress Show.
“We’re very excited about our bean crop, which got July and August rains,” he noted. “But, as you walk fields, you find a lot of tip back in corn. It’s going to be a good crop, but not the record we anticipated.”
Allendale Inc. in McHenry projected average yields in Illinois this season of 201 bushels per acre for corn and 64 bushels for beans, based on its 33rd annual Nationwide Producer Yield Survey.
Nationwide, Allendale estimates yields at 172.39 bushels per acre for corn and 50.8 bushels for beans, down from USDA’s August estimates of 175.4 and 51.9, respectively.
“We’re in a drought area. A neighbor south of me just disked up 80 acres of beans that had an estimated yield of four bushels per acre,” Dean Benda of Tama, Iowa said at Farm Progress Show. “Ten miles north of me they got too much rain.
“Things are drying down OK and it’ll be a good harvest,” he noted. “Just less to take to town with a short crop.”
Pro Farmer’s national yield estimates released Aug. 26, 168.1 for corn and 51.7 for beans, also were below the USDA marks. The Ag Department releases its next crop production report Sept. 12.