2010 Day 2 Eastern Tour Observations from Roger Bernard

August 17, 2010 07:17 PM

Roger Bernard

300 in sight? I usually don't talk numbers right away, but a field I hit in Fountain County, Indiana, registered a 281-bu.-per acre yield. Yep, that's right. And it was a field with 20-inch rows. And despite that narrower row spacing, we still pulled 89 ears from the 60-foot of row. Grain length wasn't astounding at 6.33 inches, but all three of the sample ears were a plump 20-kernel rows around. We did the math and measurements on that one three times before believing it. It just goes to show what those increasing plant populations can do.

Jumping into the numbers, Indiana's 2010 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour corn yield checked in at 167.06 bu. per acre, up 6.2% from our 2009 result. The Hoosier state's corn crop is like others in the eastern Corn Belt this year. Most of it got an early start, but then there was a break in action as Mother Nature tossed rain and cool temperatures at it for May.

That has had some impacts even though our data almost masks it somewhat. Our ear count in 60 foot of row was up from last year by nearly two ears -- 96.48 vs. 94.87 in 2009. That increase came despite seeing more than a few emergence issues in some fields. And it appears those problems were magnified as the planting was closer and closer to when rains interrupted things for a few weeks in late April. Fields that got the earliest start had the strong populations and likely at the ones that helped push those ear counts up from year-ago.

There was tip back evident last year as our grain length was lower in 2009, coming in at 6.09 inches. But ears in the Hoosier state this measured on Tour were at 6.41 inches, also above the three-year average. Those two figures are the main factors in the rise in Indiana's corn yield versus year-ago.

And another common thread comes through that started in Ohio -- this crop is so much further along than 2009 and 2008. Samples in Indiana were still mostly in that dent stage and didn't have that long a time to go until they run through the combine. That should also make it easier for corn to hold onto yield potential as the fall closes in.

For soybeans, we measured 1238.64 pods in a 3ft.x3ft. square, up 3.7% from year-ago. And it is a crop that had still a few of those little pods that were set not all that long ago, with many of them in that one-quarter inch or above size that we count on the Tour.

We found more pods in the 3-foot of row we measure out, and our growth stage was about on track with year-ago. Row spacing actually spread out a little this year, somewhat surprisingly, reaching 16.05 vs. 15.10 a year-ago.

That pod count we measured is only about 10 pods above the three-year average, but it is an above-average crop -- provided that it gets a rain pretty soon. If not, some of those little pods that are a quarter inch or more at the top of the plants just won't be there. So some help from Mother Nature would be good at this point.

Next up? Finish off our sampling in Illinois tomorrow and we'll get into some more areas where moisture issues will be evident -- issues from too much moisture.

Click here for complete 2010 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Coverage.

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