From the Rows with Brian Grete
Scouts on Day 1 of the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour set out from Columbus, OH, en route to Fishers, IN. The weather on Day 1 was nearly ideal, but that was about all that was perfect. Crops in western Ohio and eastern Indiana were far below the norm. Because everyone already knew crops in these areas had suffered severe heat and moisture stress, I wouldn't say seeing it first-hand was shocking, but it was attention-grabbling.
On my route through Champaign, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties in Ohio, we found an average corn yield on samples taken of 104.42 bu. per acre. We had a low sample of 39.6 bu. and a high of 174.6 bu. per acre. Unfortunately, conditions worsened as we moved into the eastern Indiana counties of Jay, Blackford, Grant and Madison. Our route average in those counties was 94.84 bu. per acre, with a low of 41.23 bu. and a high of 196.4 bu. per acre. Many of the corn fields in western Ohio and eastern Indiana were extremely short, no more than chest to shoulder high on me -- and I'm vertically challenged. Standing in some of those three- to four-foot-high fields made me feel like the Jolly Green Giant. Corn in the areas we sampled Monday and from what other scouts found on different routes suffered from poor ear development, pollination problems and severe tipback. The corn maturity was pushed by very stressful summer growing conditions and in most cases much too far along to be helped by any late-season rainfall.
For soybeans, my route found an average pod count in a 3 foot by 3 foot square of 794.8 in Ohio and 1,025.3 in Indiana. While the Indiana pod counts on our route were better than Ohio, they were still below the norm for the counties we sampled. Heavy weed pressure was noted in fields we sampled and also evident in many others that were on our route but not sampled. Some of the soybeans could still benefit from late-season rains and it rained in Fischers Monday evening.
When all 103 of our Ohio samples were tabulated, the Ohio corn yield came in at 110.5 bu. per acre -- down 29.3% from year-ago and 31.2% below the three-year Tour average. For soybean pod counts in a 3 foot by 3 foot square, this year came in at 1033.72, down 17.5% from year-ago and 16.7% below the three-year Tour average.
This year, we are asking our veteran scouts to do a little extra in tracking abandoned fields and beans per pod. Based on what we saw on Day 1, acreage abandonment wasn't nearly as prevalent as I expected and the beans per pod were higher than I anticipated. That will continue to be something we watch as we move into western Indiana and eastern Illinois, areas where acreage abandonment could increase and the average beans per pod could decrease.
Day 2 of the eastern leg of the Tour will see scouts sampling fields from Fishers, IN, to Bloomington, IL.