(Dodge County, Neb.) – Corn field samples taken from South Dakota and northeast Nebraska on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour point to a much improved crop over last year in the area, crop scouts on the western leg of the annual tour said, while soybean potential was much less impressive.
"The corn crop is a lot better,” said Neil Hadley, crop tour scout and corn and soybean farmer from Hardin County, Iowa. "It's not as well developed, but the yield potential is better. The root strength is excellent and the crop is standing well.”
Of the six routes on the western leg of the tour, the average corn yield through the route in Minnehaha, Union and Lincoln counties in South Dakota was 154 bushels/yield with a range of 52 to 204 on seven sampled fields. The average yield in the northeastern Nebraska counties of Burt and Dakota was 170 bushels/acre with a range of 159 to 177 based on a sampling of three fields.
Last year, USDA figured corn yield in the three South Dakota counties at 128.7 bushels/acre while the average yield in the two Nebraska counties was 130.5 bushels/acre.
Crop scouts estimated harvest in the area would arrive by Oct. 1. With an average frost date of Sept. 10, tour participants said producers in the region of southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska will be anxious for the crop to mature.
"An early frost would be a real threat to the whole Corn Belt,” Hadley said.
Meanwhile, the soybean crop in the region was not nearly as impressive to last year's due to late planting and wet conditions in June, crop scouts said. High populations of aphids were also noted in many fields. If gone untreated, significant yield drag would be the likely result, scouts said.
The average soybean pod count for South Dakota based on seven samples was 730 pods in a 3' by 3' square, ranging from 346 to 1,356, while the average Nebraska pod count was 1,220 pods, with a range of 648 to 1,689 pods. In 2007, the average soybean yield in the region of 51 bushels/acre, according to USDA.
This evening, the western leg of the tour will convene in Grand Island, Neb., where data will be compiled from six routes and a the tour will report the day's yield estimates for South Dakota. Tuesday, the western tour will meet in Nebraska City, Neb., to report yield estimates for Nebraska.