Minnesota fields thrive, Iowa storm damage continues on crop tour

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Chicago | Reuters — Scouts on an annual U.S. Midwest crop tour continued to see fields battered by an Aug. 10 derecho storm in central Iowa on Thursday, with corn stalks snapped and ears littering the ground due to the hurricane-like winds.

In Iowa, crop prospects swung wildly from field to field, according to scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour’s fourth and final day.

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Mark Bernard, a Minnesota-based agronomist on the tour, made eight stops in northeastern Iowa and found corn yield potential ranging from 81 to 212 bushels per acre. Last year’s tour average in the same area was 184.66 bu./ac. and the three-year average was 187.21.

Along with wind damage, dry conditions are also stressing Iowa’s crops.

“There are big cracks in the ground,” Bernard said.

But in southern Minnesota, where weather woes plagued farmers last year, conditions improved dramatically over parts of Iowa.

“It’s like a switch got flipped,” said Jeff Wilson, a crop tour leader and senior market analyst for trade publication Pro Farmer.

Scouts found corn yield potential averaging a massive 219 bu./ac. at 14 stops in six southwestern Minnesota counties, nearly 40 per cent higher than last year’s crop tour average in the same area and about 27 per cent above the three-year tour average.

The tour does not estimate soybean yields, but instead calculates the number of soy pods in a three-foot-by-three-foot square to gauge yield potential. In those Minnesota counties, soybeans averaged 1,192 pods, above the year-ago and three-year averages.

Scouts on a second Minnesota route made 18 stops in six south-central Minnesota counties and calculated an average corn yield potential of 202 bu./ac., while soybean pod counts averaged at 1,116 pods, also firmly up from the area’s year-ago and three-year averages.

The tour is scheduled to release state yield forecasts for Iowa and Minnesota later on Thursday.

— Reporting for Reuters by P.J. Huffstutter and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago.

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