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Nebraska Corn Yields Drop 14%, Soybean Pods Down 30%

August 21, 2012
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
corn sample
This irrigated corn field in Nebraska, showed strong yield potential. The non-irrigated fields showed significant stress.  

Irrigated fields offer up strong yields, but non-irrigated fields drag down state estimates.

In 2011, the Nebraska yield estimate on the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour was 153.7 bu./acre. In 2010, it was 156.94 bu./acre.

This year, after 167 samples, yield estimates came in at 131.79 bu./acre, down 14% from last year.

Soybean estimates from last year’s tour was 1,286.48 pods in a 3’ by 3’ square. The number was slightly lower in 2010 at 1,277.24. Pods this year, from 187 estimates, came in 30% lower, at 894.43.

Chip Flory, Pro Farmer Editor, says this year crops scouts have seen some really weird things in the field. "It was too hot and too dry when the corn ear was trying to pollinate this year. Ear count was a big problem this year. These crops have been under severe stress during the entire growing season."

Flory says in Nebraska, the Platte River serves as a dividing line, with stronger yields below the river. "Since we saw such poor yields in northern Nebraska, I was hoping to see good yields in southeast Nebraska. This year, that wasn’t the case. Quality is going to be down."

Irrigated fields showed decent yield potential, but still were affected by this year’s extreme drought and high temperatures.

Jason Franck, Western Tour Consulting Agronomist, says even the irrigated fields show some drought stress. He says the heat stress caused poor pollination, blunt ears and reduced kernels.

For soybeans, Franck says, there is not a lot of hope for the plants that have started changing color. "The ones that still have a lot of green color, could get bigger seeds if we could cool the temperatures down and get a little extra water."


Variability continued to be the common theme through Nebraska. Lawrence Landsteiner, a farmer from Minnesota Lake, Minn., has been on around 10 of the last tours. Today, in Lancaster County, Neb., his crew sampled both his lowest corn yield estimate and highest soybean yield estimate.

Crop Scout Elwood Line, a farmer form Momence, Ill., says early on Tuesday they pulled into a field not far from Grand Island, Neb. In the corner of the field, which was non-irrigated, he says the estimated yield was 0.06 bu./acre. "The part of the field that got the water was over 200 bu./acre."

To follow coverage of the event, visit and
For More Information
Learn more about the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Follow along on Twitter with the hash tag #pftour12.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour

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