KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, US — As the US corn and soybean harvests approach, final efforts are underway to determine the size and scope of this year’s crops. The most recent effort was Pro Farmer’s Midwest Crop Tour where scouts toured seven states over three days to measure and estimate yields from some of the nation’s most predominant corn and soybean growing areas.

Scouts on this year’s tour forecast the 2022 corn crop at 13.759 billion bushels with an average yield of 168.1 bushels per acre. If realized, this would be the smallest corn harvest in three years and would measure far below the US Department of Agriculture’s Aug. 12 Crop Production forecast of 14.530 billion bushels and projected yield of 175.4 bushels per acre.

A summer plagued by intense heat and little rainfall proved too stressful for corn crops in some states. In Indiana, the crop estimate was close to other states, but shortened ears affected the quality level. Widespread drought in South Dakota resulted in the lowest bushels per acre corn yield estimate of the tour. Extreme weather also had impacted the Nebraska crop; hail and wind injuries were noted, but some areas of the state were so dry that even irrigated fields showed drought damage.

In the USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report, the corn crop in the 18 major growing states was rated 54% good to excellent as of Aug. 28, down 1% from the previous week and down considerably from 60% a year earlier.

It was a different story for soybeans. Crop tour scouts projected the 2022 US soybean harvest at 4.535 billion bushels with an average yield of 51.7 bushels per acre, which aligns with the USDA’s record-high forecast of 4.53 billion bushels and projected yield of 51.9 bushels per acre in its Aug. 12 Crop Production report.

Despite dry conditions, scouts on the tour said overall soil moisture in most states was adequate enough to produce a quality soybean crop. South Dakota, which had the lowest bus per acre yield estimate of the tour, had suffered extreme heat and drought damage, forcing some farmers to abandon their crop. But excessive moisture in Minnesota was leading to some soybean fields to display signs of Sudden Death Syndrome disease. Generally, scouts said most states had average to excellent crops that would likely finish strong.

In the USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report, the soybean crop in the 18 major growing states was rated 57% good to excellent on Aug. 28, unchanged from the previous week and slightly above the 56% rating during the same week in 2021.

About 27% of US corn production areas and 20% of US soybean areas are in drought, according to the USDA’s analysis of the Aug. 23 US Drought Monitor. Most of Texas and Oklahoma in the southern Plains, and a significant portion of the central Plains of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska were in drought, as was a little less than half of Iowa.