From the Rows with Brian Grete
The 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour kicked off this morning in Columbus, Ohio, and had scouts sampling corn and soybean fields along 12 designated routes to Fischers, Indiana -- a suburb of Indianapolis.
My route took me north out of Columbus through crop districts 5, 2 and 1 in Ohio -- Morrow, Marion, Wyandot, Hancock, Putnam and Paulding counties. Corn yield calculations from our samples ranged from 141.9 bu. per acre in Marion County to 214.7 bu. in Putnam County. All of our samples in Ohio were in the milk stage and will need time to finish. From our samples, we had an average yield calculation of 169.4 bu. per acre. In general, the corn we sampled was very good for Ohio, but the "wow" factor some had hyped was missing from my route.
When all of the route samples were tabulated, the Ohio Tour yield came in at 171.64 bu. per acre. That was up a whopping 55.3% from year-ago and 19.1% above the three-year average for the state. The question is how much of that yield potential that's in the field can be maintained into harvest. The later maturity of the crop and very dry conditions in the northwest portion of the state lead me to believe the Ohio crop has more downside risk than upside potential into harvest. Obviously, Ohio has a very good corn crop this year, but I thought I was getting a ticket to watch Michael Jordan play and instead got to see Kobe Bryant.
As we moved across the border into Indiana, our yield calculations increased. In fact, our average yield on Indiana corn samples along my route came in at 179.8 bu. per acre. We had a low of 145.9 bu. per acre and a high of 212.2 bu. per acre -- both in Adams County. The corn we sampled in Indiana was both girthier and more mature than what we saw in Ohio. As a result, the eastern Indiana corn crop has a better chance of holding onto its yield potential than the Ohio crop, in my opinion.
For soybeans, the average pod count in a 3'x3' square on my route came in at 1,083, with a low of 541 and a high of 1,620. While the Ohio corn crop seemed relatively uniform in terms of yields, the soybean crop was more hit and miss. As is often the case, the best looking fields weren't the best in terms of pod counts. And some of the uglier fields were better than you would expect from the road. In fact, the ugliest bean field we sampled today was one of the best in terms of pod counts. That's why we get into fields and pull samples instead of driving by at 55 mph and giving it nothing more than a look test. Overall, the bean samples we pulled on my route generally had decent beans forming in the pods, but the crop needs a rain to keep filling pods.
When all of the route samples were calculated, the soybean pod count in a 3'x3' square came in at 1,283.6, which is 24.2% better than year-ago and 10.4% higher than the three-year Tour average. I am concerned with pod abortion on the upper nodes if the dryness in the northwestern portion of the state continues. That could rob yield potential if late-season rains aren't timely.
As is usually the case at some point over Crop Tour week, some of our scouts ran into an unusual situation today. There was a suspicious package found on an overpass along I69 leading into Fischers. As a result, the highway patrol shut down the roadway for a lengthy period while authorities made sure it wasn't an explosive. Unfortunately, some of our scouts got caught up in road closure, which delayed their arrival into Fischers. I guess the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour wasn't the only bomb in town last night, but based on the overflowing crowd at the Fischer's Conference Center, we were definitely "the" bomb.
On Tuesday, scouts will sample on routes from Fischers, Indiana, to Bloomington, Illinois.
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.