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RSS By: Chris Barron

Chris BarronHave a margins question? Through this blog, you will gain insight into improving your bottom line, as a margins expert answers questions and provides farm business advice.

 

Crop Reality Check

Aug 08, 2011

It's that time of the year again to estimate your yield prospects. It's easier to estimate yields from the seat of your pickup, in air-conditioning, rather than walking through corn in 100° temperatures. Although your pickup seat is much more comfortable, walking through your fields or hiring someone to do so, is much more accurate. The crop reality is always in the middle of the field, in a representational area rather than along the edge of the field. There are lots of yield reports hitting the web and all the social media venues. This information can be valuable, but you are selling grain from your fields not from theirs.

While individual yield estimates aren't perfect, they can give you some perspective. The more checks you can do, the more accurate your information can become. Having your own individual estimates can give you a number of benefits:
 
  1. Walking individual fields can help you evaluate potential problems or issues which may be managed in future crops.
  2. You have a yield comparison as to how your yields look versus relying on estimates from others.
  3. Improve marketing results; confidence to make additional sales or to hold off on sales.

 

Variability in weather has made it impossible to estimate productivity without capturing an adequate sample size out of each field this year. One effective approach is to harvest 1/1000th of an acre, (In 30 inch rows measure 17 1/2 feet). In past years we've measured out our length and selected three predetermined ears out of that sample. In some areas this process may be adequate to come up with an average kernel count per ear.  Unfortunately, many areas have experienced weather challenges which have created a lot of crop variability. Therefore, the best samples would include every ear.

Here is a picture of an estimate from the damaged field I posted in the previous blog on July 17th (The Storm's After-Math).
 
Crop Reality Check 
 
                            Planting Rate 36,500                                               Sample ear count 32,000
 
This particular field looks great from the road, but it had 70+ mph winds on July 10th. Harvesting every ear in a predetermined sample size rather than randomly harvesting some ears improves accuracy and identifies the true reality!
 
I encourage you to do your own reality checks. In order to manage margins and achieve the best results it's about having the right tools at your fingertips.
Here is an estimate of the above ear sample.

 

 
Corn Yield Estimate 
2011
70,000
80,000
90,000
 
 
 
 
 
Kernels
Kernels
Kernels
 
 
Avg.
Avg.
Avg.
per bu.
per bu.
per bu.
Ear
# Ears
Kernels
Kernels
Kernels
Factor
Factor
Factor
 Count
 picked
Long
Around
per/ear
Yield
Yield
Yield
32,000
32000
27.4
14.8
405.52
185.38
162.21
144.18

 

 
Other people’s numbers or averages plugged into the equation dilute your individual accuracy. Just as you analyze your individual grain marketing, analyze your individual yield reality!
 
If you're interested in this estimate calculator, send me a request and I’d be happy to forward it to you.
 

 

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