(Grand Island, Neb.) – Crop scouts on the Pro farmer Midwest Crop Tour estimate the South Dakota corn yield will improve from last year to 147.6 bushels/acre, well over the 2007 tour figure of 111.4 bushels/acre, while soybean yield potential was disappointing.
Tour participants agreed that the health of this year's South Dakota corn crop is substantially better than in years past. Certified Agronomist Gary Wietgrefe says the health of this year's crop is fantastic.
"Insect pressure is low and disease pressure is low,” he says, adding that cooperative weather conditions have been main reason for the great health of this year's crop.
However, despite the impressive health of the corn crop in South Dakota and in portions of northeastern Nebraska, late maturity remains an issue in the area, tour participants and local producers say.
"I would guess about two-thirds of the crop will be subject to frost damage,” Wietgrefe says. "Now, that doesn't mean you're not going to have a yield. But two-thirds of the crop is going to lose yield with a normal frost.”
A normal first frost for southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska is around mid September.
The tour's corn estimate for South Dakota is 9.3% above USDA's current forecast of 135.0 bushels/acre. USDA currently forecasts total South Dakota corn production at 567,000 bushels.
Soybean pod counts in South Dakota meanwhile averaged 860.8 pods in a 3' by 3' square, down from last year's measurement of 1,068.9 pods.
Tour leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory says the disappointing pod counts in South Dakota are due to late planting and late emergence, which will ultimately weigh on the crop's yield potential. USDA currently figures South Dakota soybean yield at 41.0 bushels/acre with production seen at 165,640 bushels.
"(The crop) started the year behind the eight ball. It's still behind the eight ball. It's got a long way to go if it's going to finish with 41 bushels per acre in South Dakota,” Flory says. "Same kind of conditions followed into Nebraska.”
The western leg of the tour on Tuesday will travel across the remaining regions of eastern Nebraska and will convene Tuesday evening in Nebraska City, Neb., where yield estimates for the state will be reported.