The first day of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official results from Ohio and South Dakota. Ohio samples resulted in an average corn yield of 171.64 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,283.61 in a 3'x'3 square. South Dakota samples resulted in an average corn yield of 161.75 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,016.68 in a 3'x'3 square.
The eastern leg traced a route from Columbus, Ohio, to Fischers, Indiana, and found an Ohio corn crop with promising yield potential. Yields generally increased as the Tour moved southward through Indiana.
Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted, "When all of the route samples were tabulated, the Ohio Tour yield was up a whopping 55% from year-ago, but I question how much of that yield potential this corn crop can maintain into harvest. Our yield calculations increased as we moved across the border into Indiana. Corn samples along my route came in at an average of 179.8 bu. per acre. In my opinion, the eastern Indiana corn crop has a better chance of holding onto its yield potential than the Ohio crop."
The soybean crop was less consistent, but pod counts measured on the Tour are up 24.2% from last year. However, continued dryness in northwestern Ohio threatens to limit yields without timely rains.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard said, "Bean pod counts (on my route) were extremely variable from a high of 1,670 in a 3’x3’ (square) in Ohio’s Paulding County to a low of 360 pods in Wyandot County. Unlike last year, soil moisture had not been a major limiting factor up until recently, and there is potential for the crop to lose bushels with no rain."
The western leg of the Tour followed a route through South Dakota where scouts surveyed strong yield potential in the corn crop and soybeans in need of rain.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory commented, "It's a good bean crop with good potential, but it's not a great bean crop. I'd like to say we are confident the South Dakota corn crop will end up as good as we measured today, but the simple fact of the matter is that all depends on September. The crop showed us everything a young crop should show us... a lot of yield potential but very few guarantees."
"Normally, I'd say the best yield scenario is to just 'slow cook' the corn crop into the end of the season and to 'hope' for an extra week or two on the end of the growing season without a frost to get it to maturity," adds Flory. "This year, the crop is far enough behind that I'd like to see at least normal temps, plenty of sunshine and a shot of rain to let the South Dakota corn crop realize all the potential we measured today."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck says his observations confirms that most of the corn and soybean crops need five to six more weeks of perfect weather to maximize yield potential measured on the Tour. "As expected, the dryland crop was showing moisture stress. What I found to be most unusual was how the irrigated areas were not pumping out huge yields," notes Franck.
"Additionally, I was surprised with some stops offering lower ear counts. Based on the variability in ear placements and maturities amongst ears, emergence could not have been ideal," adds Franck. "As in South Dakota, the soybeans that we observed in Nebraska also showed to be lacking in maturity. Many of the pods were extremely flat-seeded, and seemed to be lacking that top cluster. On the bright side, the pod counts were higher than I expected. Additionally, we went the whole day finding only one field with any disease pressure of significance to challenge yield. This should favor the growers if Mother Nature can provide the correct finish."