Crop Tour: With Great Yield Potential Comes Great Risk

August 23, 2013 07:46 AM
Crop Tour: With Great Yield Potential Comes Great Risk

As you consider Pro Farmer's yield estimates, keep in mind that there is a big difference between yield potential and final yield.

As the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour comes to a close, there's one thought that the editors and crop scouts want to make clear: There's a big difference between yield potential and actual yield.

Late planting issues have become apparent along both the Eastern and Western legs of the Tour, and while some of the Crop Tour yield calculations might have been surprising, there's a good chance those estimates won't come to fruition.

"We measured potential—a lot of potential—especially as we got into Iowa and Minnesota, and not all that potential is going to be realized," said Brian Grete, Pro Farmer senior market analyst and leader of the Eastern leg. "We’re working with the realization that the numbers will be lower than what the potential is out there when all is said and done."

(Click to read: Pro Farmer's 2013 Corn and Soybean Crop Estimates)

"The reason we are stressing potential so much is because the crop is so immature," said Pro Farmer editor Chip Flory, leader of the Western leg of the Tour. "We had guys that were in fields that were in the blister stage on the Iowa-Minnesota border that were generating a calculated yield of 200, 220 bu. per acre. Well, there’s no way that that blister corn, at this time of the year, is going to make 200 bu. per acre. It’s not going to happen."

Flory said that weather will be a factor for the corn crop moving forward, particularly the first frost, but an even bigger factor is planting date. Even though some of the Pro Farmer yield estimates may seem promising, those numbers won't be reached if the crop runs out of time.

"With great potential for a crop comes great risk when it’s this immature," Flory said. "You’ve got to adjust. You’ve got to put your perspective on those numbers, and understand that an immature crop is going to have a real tough time hitting those yields."

Listen to the editors' full audio report on AgriTalk:

Empty Acres and the Soybean Crop

Flory and Grete both said they saw a lot of prevented planting acres during the Tour, especially in Iowa and Minnesota. And while those acres weren't scouted for the Crop Tour estimates, they will still have an effect on final yield numbers.

"Some of our scouts had their eyes opened, I think," Grete said. "They’d been hearing the stories but I don’t think they realized exactly how many acres there are up here that just aren’t planted."

Beyond that, Flory said that he thinks the market hasn't adjusted for late-planted acres, either.

"The bean crop, even though it’s been rated good to excellent for most of the year by USDA and it looks excellent—I’m sorry. A bean field that is planted in the middle of June can never be rated excellent, let alone good," Flory said. "It just doesn’t have the yield potential; it doesn’t have time to get home. I think the market may have lost track of the fact that planting dates do have an impact on soybean yields."

"In general, I think it’s a fairly healthy crop," Grete added. "It just doesn’t have a lot of pods on the beans at this point in time, and our numbers reflect that."


For More Information
See full coverage of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.

DuPont Pioneer has been the Tour’s lead sponsor since 2008. Other sponsors include RCIS, Chevy Truck, DuPont Crop Protection, GEOSYS, HTS Ag, Farm Credit Services of America and Montag Manufacturing.


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Spell Check

8/24/2013 06:28 AM

  We were lucky to get our crops planted by May 18 and in decent soil conditions thanks to being one of the drier spots in the state. Unfortunately for us, that drier trend continues. As of today we've been two months with less than 0.75 inches of rain, 0.60 of that just 10 days ago. Still, I was surprised to find when doing ear and kernel counts that we still have decent potential. Kernels are beginning to dent and ears average 15.8 rows and 36.3 length on a 31,500 ear count... on the good soils. I'm guessing (truly guessing) about 10% of fields are 0 to 25% of full yield due to drought stress on the thinner soils. All of that calculates to 180 to 185 bu. corn using 90k kernels/bu. This coming week looks to be tough on kernel size with 95 degree heat and no moisture in the forecast. Audubon County, WC Iowa


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