The first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official final yield results in Ohio and South Dakota. Ohio samples resulted in an average corn yield of 110.50 bu. per acre. The final average corn yield for South Dakota is 74.26 bu. per acre. Pod counts in a 3’X3’ square yielded an average of 1,033.72 pods in Ohio and 584.93 pods in South Dakota.
Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete says "weather on Day 1 was near ideal, but that was all that was perfect. Crops in western Ohio and eastern Indiana were far below the norm" due to severe heat and moisture stress.
He says conditions only worsened as his route moved east through Indiana, and noted much of the corn in Indiana was extremely short and "from what other scouts found on different routes suffered from poor ear development, pollination problems and severe tipback."
For soybeans, Grete says his route "found an average pod count in a 3’X3’ 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." He also noted heavy weed pressure.
"This year, we asked our veteran scouts to do a little extra in tracking abandoned acres and beans per pod. Day 1 abandonment was much less prevalent than expected and beans per pod were higher than anticipated," says Grete.
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard says his route was the "polar opposite from what I’d been on the previous two years in Ohio. Overall crop health was generally okay with minor leaf disease pressure in corn showing up recently in the form of a little gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight in the corn. Also some common smut was noted in the most drought stressed corn."
One thing that stuck out to him was the weakness of the ear shanks in drought stricken areas. "When we’d pull the ears for a sample, they’d snap off with very little effort," he explains, which could lead to trouble when combines roll or if a strong wind event occurs.
Bernard says soybean disease on his route was generally light with some two-spotted spider mite and bean leaf beetle infestations.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory says crops on his route yesterday were even worse than expected. The average corn yield on his route was 60 bu. per acre (which included a yield of 0 and 7 bu. per acre). Flory says this is "the worst South Dakota corn crop I've seen since we started running a western leg of the Midwest Crop Tour (in the late 1990s)."
He continues to say it was the consistency of the poor yields that was especially troubling and noted that his samples were all from District 9 – the most concentrated area of corn and soybean production in the state. (See "From the Rows" for a detailed breakdown of what’s wrong with the corn crop.)
Beans weren’t in good shape either. "Last year, the average pod count in a 3'X3' square was about 1,107. This year, the average pod count was 584.93 — down an astounding 47.1% from last year and down a touch more than that from the three-year average," Flory elaborates. While normally he would say this doesn’t necessarily mean yield will be smaller as bean size can plump the end of August, this year Flory doesn’t think there will be any surprises.
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck says his first two stops on day 1 resulted in yields over 100 bu. per acre on corn and mistakenly thought this would be the trend. Rather, the next three stops in South Dakota "were beyond bad. One ear (yes... 1 ear) in two 30' rows does not make a good corn yield. With the lack of rain as we moved south, the ears ended up being malformed, poorly pollinated, and just plain not there."
Franck said the poor state of the soybean crop – specifically the low pod counts – were the biggest shock to him. He also notes that "many of the plants did not start podding until about 10" off the ground, showing that we had aborted pods early and then the lack of overall pods was a result of the challenging conditions throughout the remaining growing season.
He says as his route moved into more irrigated areas soybeans greened up and increased pod counts, but noted that "before we got there, we saw consistently uneven and weedy soybean fields." He also noted charcoal rot in one irrigated field.
Today, Tour scouts on the eastern leg will begin their day in Fishers, Indiana, and will end in Bloomington, Illinois. The western leg of the Tour will depart from Grand Island, Nebraska, and end in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Official Tour data for Indiana and Nebraska will be released this evening.
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour.