Wildly different ear sizes. Disease pressure. Crops ahead of maturity. These are just a few of the surprises scouts might find Aug. 17-20 while analyzing corn ears and soybean pods during the 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.
“We do it the same way year after year,” explains Pro Farmer editor Brian Grete, who will lead the eastern leg of the seven-state tour, on the “AgDay” Pro Farmer Profit Briefing segment. “We take the same routes. We stop randomly along those routes about every 15 miles. We get out in fields and we pull samples. When we get out in the corn field after we do our 35 paces past the end-rows, we may end up in a zero area. We record it as a zero.”
It’s important for observers to remember individual field results aren’t nearly as valuable as the larger data set—composed of more than 1,300 field samples—that scouts will help compile.
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“As we get out to the county level, the crop district level, the crop district level, the state level, and then all the samples—so all your samples from the western side, my samples from the eastern side combine,” Grete explains. “When we combine all of those, that’s our best number.”
Nonetheless, individual fields will provide their share of surprises. In the eastern Corn Belt, Grete expects to see some high variability in corn ear sizes because of persistent wet weather this summer. He cautions while some ears might be duds, chances are good they’ll make grain, even if it’s not to the level a farmer sought.
In the western Corn Belt, expect to see some advanced corn, says Pro Farmer editorial director Chip Flory, who will lead the western leg of the tour.
“I think we’re going to looking at a pretty average maturity on the crop,” Flory says, “maybe even just a touch ahead of maturity because a lot of the corn in the western belt was planted by the end of May.”
Soybean diseases such as sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold also are possible in light of wet conditions in the eastern Corn Belt. It’s also possible some farmers cut back on fungicide applications to manage tight margins.
Click the play button below to watch the complete conversation between Flory and Grete.