(Posted Fri. Aug 5th, 2011)
Aug. 5: The National Corn Growers Association’s “Field Notes” podcast series this week visits with Maryland grower Chip Bowling, Kentucky grower Sam Hancock, Illinois grower Tom Martin and Minnesota grower DeVonna Zeug to get an on-the-ground assessment of the crop condition in comparison with the crop condition estimates released by the USDA in a report earlier this week.
Beginning in the east and heading westward, the farmers presented their views of the crop conditions personally witnessed over the past week. As the USDA does not include data on corn production in Maryland in this report, Bowling offered a glance into corn production on the Chesapeake Bay.
“We have seen many areas experiencing light, spotty rain in only small pockets,” said Bowling. “While more rain could help our soy crop, the corn crop is already matured beyond that stage. If I were to guess, I would estimate my farm will yield about 120 bushels per acre.”
In the south, Hancock agreed with the USDA’s overall assessment of the crop in his area and foresees a quality corn crop this year, despite extreme heat.
“Everything in my area is looking pretty good right now even though it is spotty as some areas got more rain than others,” said Hancock. “In our area, the temperatures have really been blistering, which would not normally be a good thing for corn. The consistent rainfall has helped to maintain quality despite the heat.”
Noting that he had never seen such disparity in the corn condition between the northern and southern parts of Illinois, Martin also concurred with the USDA on the overall quality of corn in the state as a whole.
“This is the most extreme difference I have seen from one end of the state to the other,” said Martin. “While the south was wet this spring, in central Illinois we were dry enough to get the crop in on time this year. Over the past week, the northern and southern ends of the state had rains while the central portion baked in the heat. In that time, the crop condition here has really deteriorated.”
While, in most areas, these growers agreed with the USDA assessment, there were some discrepancies.
“I think that the USDA estimate [for Minnesota] stating 74 percent of the crop is in excellent or good condition may be high,” said Zeug. “I have driven across much of the state in the past few weeks, and what I have seen leads me to believe that crop condition estimates for Minnesota may not reflect the actual crop we see at harvest.”
To listen to the full interview, click here.