Crop scouts have wrapped up their four-day Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour across the western crop belt. Earlier this week, scouts revealed that menacing heatwaves and drought this summer had damaged corn and soybean crops. One of the last legs of the survey was farmland in Iowa on Thursday. What the scouts found was nothing short of "underwhelming," "disappointing," and just "not great," according to Bloomberg.
*US CORN CROP ON TRACK TO BE SMALLEST SINCE 2019: PRO FARMER— zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 26, 2022
Iowa is the top producing state for corn output in the US, the world's leading exporter. That's why the state of corn in Hawkeye State is critical to understand during the tour.
What scouts uncovered yesterday as they inspected farmland were large swaths of cornfields damaged by heat and dryness. Some said many of the fields they visited were in worse shape than last summer.
"Iowa was disappointing on my route, especially on corn," said Mark Bernard, a crop consultant for Agro-Economics. He was one of the scouts that inspected the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.
Pro Farmer Iowa's results show that 2022 harvests are expected to be below 2021 levels and barely above a three-year average.
Here's how Iowa's corn results from Crop Tour compare to USDA's final yield since 2001.— Pro Farmer (@profarmer) August 24, 2022
We know the yield calculated during Crop Tour will be different than USDA’s final yield for
each state. Fortunately, we know by how much on average & pay attention to the % change.#pftour22 pic.twitter.com/v0K2vi5Pyq
Other crop scouts pointed out corn was stressed.
Seeing some drought stressed #corn and #soybean on my route for #pftour22 in southern Iowa crop district 8 & 9. Also found the 2 largest ears of corn in the state that are located in Pulaski! pic.twitter.com/yf5fQoOlEI— Keith Gehling (@Grainstate) August 24, 2022
Reuters' ag specialist Karen Braun examined fields and found corn harvests will likely be below last year's harvest levels.
#Corn averaging 198 bu/acre through 8 stops in W Iowa on #pftour22 - Pottawattamie, Harrison, Crawford, Carroll, Sac Counties. That compares with 210 through 8 on this same route last year. pic.twitter.com/HYZm8wYjjI— Karen Braun (@kannbwx) August 24, 2022
Just happened to stop at the exact same field as last year in northeast Woodbury County, Iowa. #Corn yield 165 bu/acre and #soybeans 1416 pods in a 3x3' plot. Both slightly lower than last year at 174 and 1478. #pftour22 pic.twitter.com/PLgYFW1xh9— Karen Braun (@kannbwx) August 24, 2022
Iowa #corn yield comes in at 183.81 bu/acre, down 3.6% from last year's tour but even with the 3yr avg. Pod counts for #soybeans are also down 3.6% on the year but a little better than the recent avg. #pftour22 pic.twitter.com/n6n3oLanZX— Karen Braun (@kannbwx) August 26, 2022
Here's another crop scout:
Corn futures in Chicago have risen all week as the scouts made their way across the western crop belt. We noted earlier this week that scouts in Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota were "shocked it's as bad as it is" because heat and lack of rainfall damaged corn ahead of fall harvests.
The news from Iowa and other top producing states of drought-stricken cornfields is discouraging as the world banks on the North American growing season to produce a bumper harvest this year as food disruptions and inflation remain troublesome.