The second day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour ended with the release of results from Nebraska and Indiana. The Tour found an average corn yield of 153.70 bu. per acre for Nebraska and 143.10 bu. per acre for Indiana. Pod counts in a 3'x3' square totaled 1,286.48 in Nebraska and 1,137.56 in Indiana.
On the eastern leg of the Tour through Indiana, Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour director Brian Grete notes that "stress and crops that were pushed on maturity were the feature of Day 2."
Grete explains that "out of necessity, producers in this area rushed to get their crops in after a very wet spring, and there was evidence of that in many of the fields sampled by Tour scouts. Skips in rows and blank stocks were routinely noted in scouting reports from Day 2. Plant health, especially for the corn crop, was also a noted issue."
Eastern Tour consultant Mark Bernard notes that "being a bug, weed and disease guy, I was in my element today." He says, "On the corn we found gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and common rust. There was of course some nitrogen deficiency, along with some lodging where western corn rootworm beetles were prevalent."
Indiana’s soybean crop was also unimpressive. "The number of plants was generally low and/or the plants were lacking big pod numbers," Grete says.
Bernard adds that with a lot of flat pods remaining, "it will take some rain in order for these fields to maintain the pods they have."
He points out that Japanese beetles and spider mites, aphids and sudden death syndrome (SDS) are also trimming yields.
On the western leg of the Tour, Pro Farmer Editor and western Tour director Chip Flory had torn sentiment on the state of the corn and soybean crops in Nebraska. He says Nebraska’s soybeans are mostly disease- and insect-free, and with rains sweeping through the state last night and pod counts in line with last year, he expects the bean crop in Nebraska to be similar to that of 2010.
The Nebraska corn crop is another story… Western Tour consultant Terry Johnston notes there were some health issues with the crop -- gray leaf spot, rust, insect pressure, hail and green snap damage – but Flory and Johnston both note that disappointing ear populations are the most significant concern.
Flory points out that ear pops are down 2% from last year, and "it is very difficult to make up for an ‘ear that isn't there’ with increased grain length or a higher number of kernel rows. Ears matter most."
Johnston says the cause of the lower ear populations probably goes back to planting season. An early weather roller coaster led to staggered emergence, and Johnston explains that when a plant emerges up to a week behind the two seeds planted next to it, the plant is "late to the party. Not only that, but its neighbors are probably going to beat it up for most of the growing season and steal everything that plant needs to make an ear."
Addressing the hope that the western Belt’s yields would make up for damage in the east, Flory says, "I think it's safe to say the eastern Belt's lost bushels are not being found in the western Corn Belt."