The eastern leg of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Fishers, Indiana, with scouts traveling to Bloomington, Illinois. The western leg began in Grand Island, Nebraska, with scouts traveling to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Final results for Indiana and Nebraska will be released tonight on www.profarmer.com. Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory has sampled in the Nebraska counties of Adams, Webster (district 8), Nuckolls, Thayer, Fillmore, Saline, Jefferson and Gage counties (district 9). He reports a range of corn yields from 130.2 bu. per acre (Fillmore) to 213.8 bu. (Jefferson), with an average of 160.2 bu. per acre. He says irrigated corn has mostly been in the 180-bu. range, with dryland holding around 130 bu. per acre.
As Flory travels east toward Nebraska City, he says crop maturity has taken a leap, with the last two stops in early dent. "When we started in Grande Island, we saw some later-planted crop. But I'm not overly worried about it because if they have a frost in this area we've got bigger problems than yield potential from this area of the country," he says. "A lot of the problems we're seeing in irrigated fields goes back to when the crop was planted. It seems like some of the fields planted later have a more variable stand, as well as variable ear placement on the stalks. So a lot of the problems goes back to producers hustling to get things done."
Soybean pod counts on Flory's morning route in a 3'X3' square range 713 (Nuckolls) to 1,632 (Thayer), with an average of 1,041 pods. "The maturity of the beans has improved as we head east. The combines could be in some of these fields in five weeks. The beans were three-times bigger than anything else we've seen so far today, but those bigger plants are isolated and our route today is below the three-year average, which raises some concern about yield potential. However, it's important to remember that USDA didn't put a big yield on this crop earlier this month."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck has pulled samples in the Nebraska counties of Hamilton, Seward, Platte, Saunders (district 6), Clay, Fillmore and Saline (district 9). He reports a yield range of 130.6 bu. per acre (Clay) to 275.6 bu. (also Clay), with an average of 157 bu. per acre. He echoes what Flory observed about crop maturity but says there is evidence the crop didn't emerge evenly. "This crop obviously needs a rain to maximize yield potential or it will go downward," he notes. "I expected today to be better than yesterday in terms of maturity, but the average is being brought down from inconsistent yield results."
Soybean pod counts on Franck's route in a 3'X3' square have ranged 896 (Clay) to 1,378 (Saunders), with an average of 1,125 pods. "The beans are more mature today and I'm seeing more three-bean pods than yesterday, which is also a good sign," he says. "I'm encouraged that I'm seeing very little disease so the crop is much more consistent than the corn crop. And obviously, this area needs a rain to cross the finish line and hold its current yield potential."
Eastern Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete has sampled in the Indiana counties of Clinton, Boone (district 5), Tippecanoe (district 4), White, Benton and Newton (district 1). He reports corn yields have ranged 140.1 bu. per acre (Clinton) to 222 bu. (also Clinton), with an average of 179.2 bu. per acre. "I've seen a pretty solid corn crop so far today," he says, noting he's had two yield samples above the 200-bu.-per-acre mark. "Today we're seeing solid plant health and strong ear population, but as we travel into the northwest section of the state we're starting to see more tipback and moisture stress."
Remarking on conditions as he heads into Illinois, Grete says there is moisture stress and variability in district 5. "But overall, my expectations are being met with good yield potential until we entered Illinois," he says.
Soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square have ranged 883 (Clinton) to 1,593 (White), with an average of 1,275 pods. "The bean pod counts have been all over the place. Some of the crop that looked less appealing from the road has some of the better pod counts today and vice versa," he says. "The better soils are producing better pod counts. As we enter Illinois, we are seeing number go down as soils dry down. As alerted by farmers from last night's meeting, we are seeing some sudden death syndrome (SDS) through north-central and northwest Indiana."
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard has sampled in the Indiana counties of Hamilton, Boone, Hendricks (district 5), Putnam, Parke and Vermillion (district 4). He reports a range of corn yields from 84 bu. per acre (Hamiltion) to 195 bu. (Boone), with an average around 162 bu. per acre. "The crop was about what I expected, except we hit a couple of lows that pulled our average down from what it was yesterday," says Bernard. "We were around 170 bu. per acre until we got into western Indiana. It's a little drier as we head west, with some wind issues also doing some damage. It doesn't look like there's rain in the forecast, so the crop could go back further this week. We did some gray leaf spot today, but no disease pressure that really concerns me so far today. As we head across the border into Illinois in district 7, we are seeing some even looking corn fields, but the corn is in dough stage."