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Will '09 go down as the year of 'monster' crops?

Agriculture.com Staff 09/21/2009 @ 2:28pm

Is a monster waiting in the nation's corn and soybean fields? Some farmers think so. But, a lot depends on the weather between now and when the combines roll (if they haven't already), say other farmers.

Monday's USDA Crop Progress report indicates the corn and soybean crops remain on or above average, quality-wise, in most states. But, progress is still behind schedule, putting a late frost on many farmers' wish lists moving into fall.

As of Sunday, USDA indicates 68% of the nation's corn crop and 67% of the soybean crop is in good to excellent condition. That's off just 1% from last week for both crops, but hovering near the previous average.

But, some farmers say conditions have been near perfect this year, leading to some bold yield projections.

"It's a monster. I think I undershot on my yield estimates last month (170 and 44 [bushels/acre for corn and soybeans, respectively])," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member John From S. MN. "Every major state is a record [except for] Illinois and Minnesota. They may be on board for a record as well before it is all said and done. No bad crops -- only good and better than good."

Others aren't as bullish on their yields; Marketing Talk member DW11 says his corn crop in southeastern South Dakota is getting a boost from recent warm, dry conditions, but his soybeans won't tip the top of the scale.

"I'm a little disappointed with the way the beans are looking and I think the bean crop in our area is getting smaller rather than bigger. The lack of rain in late August and into September on a maturity lagging bean crop has taken some yield away," he says. "We are looking at average rather than above average bean yields. However, the warmth and dryness has aided the finish of the corn and helped it prepare for a frost. It will be a big corn crop."

Meanwhile, further south, the waiting's over for farmers who are already getting the combines rolling. In central Missouri, Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Steve Cromley says farmers are finding good yields, though disease pressures are creating renewed urgency for farmers to get the crops out of the field.

"Combines are slowly entering corn fields in mid-Missouri. Producers have been anxious to start shelling corn but conditions have not been ideal for drying down. We have seen high levels of diplodia ear rot in a few fields. According to our early observations the ear rots have been more prevalent in the river bottoms. Overall, yields should be good this year," says Cromley, a CCA with MFA Incorporated in Columbia, Missouri.

"There have been a few early maturing soybean fields harvested. Soybeans have had a rougher year than corn. There have been higher than normal levels of Sudden Death Syndrome and Cercospora this year," adds Cromley, also an Agriculture.com Crop Tech Tour CCA correspondent. "There were also quite a few acres sprayed for soybean aphids over the last few weeks in late planted fields."

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