Midwest Crop Tour and Weather Outlooks - Friday, 25 August 2017

Following the USDA report and this week’s crop tour the trade is realizing that this year’s corn and soybean crops are not as bad as previously thought.  While yields are expected to be lower than a year ago the reduction is not low enough to cause any supply concerns. Recent rainfall has brought much needed relief to dry area’s and is adding additional pressure to market prices.  The market really needs fresh news to move prices higher and at this point there really is no big story out there to do that.  There has been some discussion about an early frost in mid-September but those predictions have not gained much support, at least not as of yet.  A few of the headlines that the trade is watching:

  • Harvey, a category 2 hurricane is headed for Texas and part of the Delta. This region is expected to receive full impact from the storm beginning tonight and through the weekend. The storm is expected to bring historic rainfall and will likely cause substantial damage to crops in the affected areas.
  • New crop soybean sales are at lowest levels since 2008
  • Funds are short 4,000 corn contracts, 7,000 soybean contracts and 54,000 wheat contracts
  • Pod counts are lower than in previous years

The annual Midwest Farm Tour began this week with two groups of scouts approaching the final destination of Rochester, MN one group from the east and the other group from the west.

DAY 1 

Western leg scouts announced that the yield potential for corn in SE South Dakota is below average, low soybean pod counts were found in this area as well. Corn results from South Dakota showed an average of 147.97 bushel per acre yield with “extreme variability” vs 149.79 last year’s yield. Soybean scouts counted 899 pods this year vs 970 last year and the 3 year average of 1027.

The eastern group started their tour day in Dublin, Ohio and concluded in Fishers, Indiana. Yields were very inconsistent in Ohio ranging from below 60 bushels per acre to over 215 bushels per acre with an overall estimated yield for the state set at 164.62 which is up from last year’s estimate of 148.96 bushels per acre. Soybeans in Ohio show some improvement with 1107 this year vs last year’s count of 1055 but the count fell below the 3 year average of 1174.


Brought results from Nebraska and Indiana. In the west Nebraska’s yield estimate of 165.42 bushels per acres was quite strong compared to last year’s 158.6 yield but is still a long way from the recent USDA estimate of 183 bushels per acre.  Soybean pod counts in Nebraska averaged 1131.02 vs 1223.07 last year and the 3-year average of 1182.12 pods per 3X3 square.

The eastern tour group estimates the yield in Indiana 171.23 per acre compared to 173.42 forecasted for the state a year ago. Pod counts were similar to 2016 with 1168.78 vs 1178.41 last year and the close to the 3 year average of 1164.09.


Results from Illinois and western Iowa were gathered during day 3 of the tour.  The 2017 yield estimated for Illinois is set at 180.72 bushels per acre vs 193.5 estimated a year ago and the 3 year average of 187.37 bushels per acre.  In the 3 districts sampled in western Iowa all had lower yields than last year, the northwestern district scored the worst averaging -8 bushels less than last year. Pod counts in Illinois were lower than normal with 1230.77 vs 1318.09 last year and the 3 year average of 1269.24.


The fourth and final day ended with completed estimates for Iowa and Minnesota.  The final estimate for Iowa as a whole was set at 179.79 bushels per acre vs 188.17 last year and the 3 year Midwest Crop Tour average of 182.39.  Minnesota is expected to exceed previous years with 191.54 bushels per acre this year vs 182.32 last year and their 3 year average of 181.32.  Pod counts in Iowa averaged 1092.92 vs 1224.28 a year ago and the 3 year average of 1205.69.  Minnesota’s pod count averaged 1019.96 vs 1107.6 last year and the 3 year average of 1086.12.

The tour concluded that while the USDA yield of 169.5 is optimistic it may not be that far off from final harvest results. The final Midwest Crop Tour yield results are not known as of yet but will be announced today, 8/25/17 at 1:30 CT.   The 1st graph shown below for corn yields compares the findings from the Crop Tour, the USDA’s August estimate and the USDA Final Yield estimate for each of the past 5 years.  The 2nd graph shows the pod counts as reported by the Crop Tour and how it correlated with the final USDA yield for each of the past 5 years.


Forecasters at NOAA are predicting cooler than normal temps for the remainder of August and into early September.  A cold front has made its way through the Midwest and into the East which is expected to bring “an extended break from the summer heat”.  NOAA predicts high temps will be up to -10 degrees below typical August highs from the Midwest into the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.  There is the possibility that low temps in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin could dip into the 30’s and 40’s.  These temps are expected to last into early September with a short-lived warm up possible over the Labor Day holiday weekend.




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