The first day of the 2017 Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official results from Ohio and South Dakota. South Dakota samples resulted in an average corn yield of 147.97 per acre and an average soybean pod count of 899.56 in a 3'x3' square. Ohio samples resulted in an average corn yield of 164.62 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,107.01 in a 3'x'3 square.
The eastern leg traced a route from Dublin, Ohio, to Fishers, Indiana, and found extreme variability in corn yields although disease and weed pressure in soybeans were low.
Pro Farmer Editor and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted, "The story of the day was the extreme variability in corn yields, and in crop maturity within fields -- signs of the struggles producers had this spring. Ear populations are down from last year, but grain length and kernel rows around are up. As we crossed into northeastern Indiana, yields on our route increased and became less variable. Perhaps the most telling of the Ohio soybean numbers we found was an average soil moisture rating of 2.75, down 32.8% from last year. Late-season rains are badly needed with soil moisture lacking for the crop to finish strong. But the yield factory is there if the rains come."
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard said, "Weed control was generally good and disease pressure was typically low. Gray leaf spot and Northern corn leaf blight were present in the fields we sampled although it wasn't present in sufficient amounts to impact yields significantly. Insects in those same fields were nearly nonexistent with only slight evidence of some corn earworm activity. One oddity noted on our route and several others, where we found good corn yields the soybean pod counts were generally poorer. Disease pressure was very light although we did pick up one field with white mold present in it in Darke county."
The western leg followed a route from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Grand Island, Nebraska, where scouts observed corn and soybean crops in good shape but in need of consistent sunlight to finish strong.
Western Tour Director and Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory commented, "Maturity of the corn varies widely in the southeastern corner of South Dakota. A couple of fields had just recently pollinated, but most of the samples we pulled were in the dough stage to very early dent. If forced to say something bad about the South Dakota bean crop, I will tell you the bean pods are flat... bean development isn't what it was the past couple of years. But, as the length of night gets longer, the bean plants will start to shut down and that will send everything they've got into filling those beans. There's time for the bean crop to finish in South Dakota with at least an average bean size."
"What do the corn and soybean crops in South Dakota need now? Sunlight. Growers we talked with along the way and at the overnight stop in Grand Island, Nebraska, all agreed both crops need plenty of sunlight from this point forward. I'm not talking about heat, although getting back up to seasonal temps might be considered hot after some of the cool days and nights they've had in the state in August," added Flory.
Day two on the eastern leg will include stops from Fishers, Indiana, to Bloomington, Illinois, and the western leg will trace routes from Grand Island, Nebraska, to Nebraska City, Nebraska.
As the 2017 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour continues, look to FarmJournalPro.com to give you perspective and commentary on this year's results. Click here for comparative analysis of 2017 Midwest Crop Tour results -- exclusive to Farm Journal Pro users.