Crop scouts Leslie Smith and Federico Vargas shuck three ears to estimate a yield for a Nebraska corn field.
Watch the U.S. Farm Report roundtable for fresh-from-the-field expert analysis.
Crop Tour field scouts gathered more than 2,300 corn and soybean samples across seven Midwest states August 20-23, during the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. The area surveyed accounts for about 70% of U.S. corn and soybean production.
As expected, measurements of the samples showed dramatic declines in yield potential for both corn and soybeans across the drought stricken region.
"We saw drought stress from the east coast to the west coast of the Corn Belt this week," says Chip Flory, editor of the Pro Farmer newsletter. "Unfortunately, yield declines of 20% or more will be common for many growers this year."
Based on Midwest Crop Tour data and other sources, Pro Farmer estimates that overall production will decline by about 15% for both corn and soybeans for 2012 compared to 2011. The 2012 U.S. corn crop is estimated to be 10.478 billion bushels, yielding 120.25 bushels per acre. For soybeans, the production estimate is 2.6 billion bushels (34.8 bushels per acre).
The final evening report and meeting, at Ritchie Brothers Auction Theatre near Owatonna, Minn., attracted more than 600 attendees.
Watch the U.S. Farm Report roundtable from the event:
Tough Growing Conditions
"Our scouts were in many corn fields that were heavily stressed by this summer’s drought and heat," Flory explained. "The weather stress and other disease and pest problems have weakened stalk strength. Farmers must figure out which fields they need to harvest first before stalk lodging results in even more lost yield."
He added, "The soybean crop needs a rain right now. Without that much-needed water, yield potential will be even lower than we estimated."
More than 2,600 people attended Crop Tour’s seven evening meetings sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, SFP (Specialty Fertilizer Products); RCIS (Rural Community Insurance Services); Farm Credit Services of America, Gavilon, and Chevy Truck.
Participating in the 2012 Tour were more than 100 volunteer scouts from five continents including growers, agribusiness, media, government, and financial firms.
For More Information
Read AgWeb’s full coverage of the 2012 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.
Extensive coverage will also appear in a special insert within the September issue of Top Producer.
On Friday, Aug. 31, AgDay will dedicate their entire episode to the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Find out when it airs in your area, or plan to watch it at www.AgDay.com.