Using our standard 90,000 kernel per bushel equation to figure yields, our 2019 crop tour had an estimated 191.0 bushel yield per acre. There were lots of unknowns this year with the wide range of planting dates and questions about how to handle acres and replanted areas. The wide range of planting dates was evident as we had a very diverse sample of ears. Tour participants noted the variability in the maturity from one field to the next, and we have some corn 2-3 weeks away from black layer while plenty of other ears were noted to have had the milk line 1/3 to halfway.

The numbers this year came in surprisingly higher than expected. The tour average of rows was 16.32, down from the last 4 years’ averages of 16.45 (16.1 in 2015, 16.5 in 2016 and 2017, and 16.7 in 2018). The average ear length was down, as well: 33.1 compared with 33.6 4-year average.

However, it appears as though populations might be the saving grace of this year’s crop. 2017 and 2018 had population averages of 31.0 and 31.7, but this year’s 31.9 caught most of us by surprise. We knew the later planted corn had great stands as from planting to emergence, it was only a few days from the late-May, early-June planted corn. The surprise to most was that even the corn planted during the wetter periods had higher populations. If the tour had found a smaller population count closer to the last 4-year average (31.5), that would have been about a three bushel reduction in overall yield.

The maturity of this crop was still the biggest concern for most, but looking back over the last 30-60 days, the weather has been eerily similar to 2016’s June and July, albeit this year in July and August. But, for a crop that went in 30 to 60 days later than intended, that might be having a bigger impact on this crop than we are giving it credit for.

This year, we had an agronomist, Mark Baer from Sun Ag, outline a few of the things they were seeing this year and what to look for this fall when harvest begins. A few noted samples of ear rot and Physoderma brown spot were talked about. To go along with that, several participants noted the troubles we might have with standability once harvest begins. He also talked about time management this fall as we are facing a later-maturing crop and allowing us to set up for a successful spring.

And we had a great presentation from Mark Schleusener, the Illinois State Statistician for the USDA-NASS office. We asked Mark to come and discuss the NASS office’s methodology in conducting their surveys and help us understand the reasoning behind the perceived differences in acres between the marketplace and the government. Below are links to some information that he shared, including a map of the change in year-over-year corn planted acres, by county, that was put together from Matthew Elliott, assistant professor of Economics and Extension Agribusiness Specialist with South Dakota State University.

Commodity Price Changes Following USDA Reports

Change from 2018 to 2019 Corn Planted Acres, by county

Corn Prevent Planting, by county


2019 Tremont Coop Crop Tour
  Population Rows Length Yield  
Adwell - South Pekin 30.0 16.6 33.5 184.6  
Spring Lake 31.6 16.2 33.9 191.1  
Tremont - North 33.2 16.4 32.6 196.5  
Tremont - South 32.7 16.1 32.4 188.7  
Averages 31.9 16.3 33.1 191.0  



kernel size




90,000 191.0
88,000 195.3
85,000  202.2