Day 4 Press Release: 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

August 24, 2012 01:56 AM

On the final day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, the eastern and western legs converged in Owatonna, Minnesota, for the release of official Tour results from Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa samples resulted in an average corn yield of 137.27 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 999.80 in a 3’X3’ square. Minnesota resulted in a final corn yield of 156.19 bu. per acre and a pod count of 934.35 in a 3’X3’ square.

Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete saw wide variability in corn yields on his trek across Iowa with samples ranging from 0 to 202.5 bu. per acre. Overall, he says, corn yields were disappointing.

Soybean pod counts on Grete’s route were also "all over the board." He continues, "While we got very good pod counts in some of the fields, they weren't consistently strong."

Pods were again absent from the bottom area of the plant, but Grete says "in most cases, the soybeans seemed to withstand drought conditions better than corn. But ironically, our lowest soybean pod count of the day came at the same stop as our highest corn yield."

Looking back on Tour findings, Grete says that while he expected severe damage, it was still a shock to walk into some fields and come out with the poor results that were all too common this year. "The humbling aspect of the week was the stark reminder that severe weather conditions such as seen this year can trump production management, technology and soil types," he says.

Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard says: "All in all, the corn crop we saw today was the most variable I’ve seen on the nine Crop Tours I’ve participated in. It showed us the kind of yields Iowa is usually capable of. But it also reminded us of what kind of growing season we’ve been through.  We pulled a 228 bu./acre corn sample out of Buchanan and two samples later, we zeroed a field."

Bernard notes standability was an issue for Iowa corn (for the fourth state in a row).

Soybeans are beginning to abort some pods in Iowa, and Bernard says low pod counts "likely foretell the tale of a soybean crop that could’ve been, given a few more timely rains and some cooler temperatures earlier on during pod set."

Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory opens his "From the Rows" blog with a rundown of memorable Tour moments and then responds to criticism of the Tour and its routes with an invite to come on the Tour and the explanation that deviating from historic routes would compromise the Tour’s data integrity. 

"When we wrapped thing up in Minnesota, we had an average corn yield of 156.19 bu. per acre. That's down 11.2% from last year's Tour findings. USDA on Aug. 1 had Minnesota down just 1 bu. from last year (0.6%), which means we may not have seen as good of a crop in Minnesota as expected." But Chip quickly follows that this may be one of those years when areas north of the Tour will actually out-yield some of the counties to the south, offsetting some of this damage.

Flory also points out the Minnesota corn crop was the least mature of all of the western Tour stops (despite it being about two weeks ahead of average).

Soybean pod counts were disappointing, as they declined 16.9% from last year. However, Flory says these were still the "least bad" of the western Corn Belt.

Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck says that while his route through Minnesota saw some consistency, it was not in the ear size, but rather, in the maturity of the crop. "Almost all of the ears we sampled were at half milk line. So, if the weather turns more favorable, we could still add some test weight or maybe 3% to 6% potential yield change," Franck elaborates.  

As was the case yesterday in Iowa, Minnesota beans had reached maturity and were starting to turn leaves. Franck says, "The only difference was the percentage of soybeans doing this was higher than we saw in Iowa. So, knowing this, I think it is safe to say many of these fields are within limited days of also changing colors. As a result, I think any pods that are around a 0.25" will not produce anything, reducing the potential for better pod numbers." Again he noted aborted pods within the clusters themselves, which showed heat was too much for the crop.

For More Information

See full coverage of the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.


Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer’s Virtual Crop Tour.


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