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What Midwest crops look like

What Midwest crops look like
Corn condition and quality is a mixed bag across the Midwest.

Recently my wife, Carla, and I jumped in the car and headed northwest, from Franklin, Ind., to Waterloo, Iowa. Afterwards, we headed through Dyersville, Iowa, to Galena, Ill., hitting back roads now and then along the way. I've also traveled to Jasper County recently, and to Jay and Blackford Counties.

Related: Midwest crops range from excellent to destroyed

Variable conditions: It's a mixed bag at mid-season in the Corn Belt as a whole.

What do crops look like at mid-season from my vantage point? They range from nearly destroyed to excellent, but the excellent fields are few and far between. Here are some observations that stood out on the trip. This obviously isn't a technical report – it's from primarily windshield surveys, but it might give you a feel for what's out there.

1. Wet spots: There are water holes in many fields no matter where you go in the three 'I' states. They may be a very minor deal, or they may be a huge deal, depending on where you are. Sometimes it changes from one part of one county to the next.

2. Running behind: Corn appears to be running slightly behind in reaching tasseling, especially for Illinois and Iowa. While much of it is likely tasseling now, given early planting in some of those areas before rains came, I expected to see taller corn than that we saw.

3. Yellow corn: You don't have to drive very far in any direction to find a field or two that look extremely yellow and uneven. Whether it's all weather related or tied to planting date, or both, there are fields hurting in many areas.

4. Soybeans need dry weather to get their N: producing factories to kick in. There were many soybeans with a yellowish cast throughout our travels.

5. Still fields to plant: Here and there we would see a field not planted. Or if it was planted, it hadn't been planted long. But this is the exception, not the rule.

6. Big weeds: Weedy soybeans were the rule rather than the exception. Obviously wet fields delayed spraying. There were two kinds of weedy fields – some with scattered big weeds, and some with weeds and grass at bean height. It's likely the ones with a few scattered, large weeds were treated with a residual herbicide, and what we were seeing were some escapes. Other fields obviously weren't sprayed with a residual herbicide.  

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