DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- When USDA's experts lowered 2013 corn yield estimates today, they likely did not consider the corn I saw being planted in central Illinois last Friday. The world may be getting warmer, but corn planting in August is still not normal in this part of the world. The number of cars that slowed with people to gawk during the planting process is proof.
What was really happening is that Monsanto planted a plot of corn just north of the Farm Progress Show site as a precision planting demo. The plot took on too much water during early spring rains and was subsequently drilled to oats. Later, it was deemed the perfect spot to show how a corn crop can be stitched kernel by kernel into a field. An alley for farmers to walk and variable population rates were computer programmed so precisely that the operators might as well have been monogramming the IFS (Integrated Farming Systems) logo.
That newly-planted field will benefit from the rain we're receiving today and should be about the V-3 growth stage by the time the show starts on August 27, according to Jeff M. Brown, Monsanto District Sales Manager. Those who travel to Decatur to take in the show this year will find a lush green crop, although lagging in maturity due to late planting. Today's crop report pegged Illinois' corn crop as 50% in the dough stage compared to the 64% average from 2008 to 2012. Only 6% of Illinois corn is in the dent stage compared to the 2008 to 2012 average of 26%.
As I traveled to Champaign yesterday, I saw an entire side of a barn being painted or decaled (hard to tell from the interstate) to an advertisement for Agrisure Artesian, Syngenta's drought tolerant technology.
The billboard I spotted for Wyffels Hybrids near the entrance of the Decatur show site made me laugh aloud with the proclamation: "A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Nobody." Next to it another large regional company, Beck's Hybrids, was advertising its new effort to gather farmers' stories at the website whyIfarm.com. Nearly every field of corn or soybeans into and out of Decatur is marked with some sort of seed sign.
It may take us until December to get this crop into the bin given the late planting, but the marketing messages for 2014 have already begun.
Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org
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