From the Rows -- Brian Grete -- Eastern Leg Day 1
The 2015 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour kicked off this morning in Dublin, Ohio, (a suburb of Columbus) and had scouts sampling corn and soybean fields along 12 designated routes to Fishers, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis).
My route took me northwest out of Dublin into the northwest part of Ohio. From there, we moved into northeast Indiana and then down to Fishers. Based on reports from local farmers, my group was in some of the worst areas of these two states.
We made stops in Logan, Hardin Allen and Van Wert counties in Ohio. The corn crop was extremely variable. Not only did we see variability between fields, but within fields. In many cases, our 35 paces into the field (after getting past the end rows) took us through a wide variety of conditions. Sometimes, we ended up in a "good" area of the field, while others we ended in the "poor" areas. In those six stops, my route saw corn yield samples range from 46.8 bu. per acre to 188 bushels. Ear counts were not the problem -- they ranged from 88 to 117 in the two 30 foot of rows. Grain length, however, was a problem. Grain length was 2.4 inches to 7.5 inches with an average of 5.125 inches. The ears are there, but they just didn't have enough grain on them to trigger a bigger yield calculation. We also witnessed nitrogen loss in nearly every field as the impacts from the too-wet spring were abundantly obvious.
As we crossed into northeast Indiana, conditions for the corn crop got a little worse. The nitrogen loss remained a common theme. Though the yield variability declined ever so slightly, overall yields did not improve. As was the case in western Ohio, grain length was an issue in eastern Indiana -- ear populations remained strong. There were areas in northeast Indiana that went from obviously too wet in the spring to too dry now. That's a double-whammy for producers in this area.
The soybean crop in western Ohio and eastern Indiana along my route was also highly variable. Many of the soybean fields were very short. While that doesn't guarantee pod counts will suffer, it limits the "production factory" for the plant. And pod counts were generally lighter than in past years, ranging from 427.4 in a 3'x3' square to 2146.3. We saw a couple of good soybean fields on my route today, but the were far out numbered by poorer fields. One thing we noticed was some flowering in some of the soybean fields. With some timely late-season rains (some areas got rains today), beans have the potential to add some bushels.
My general feeling is that corn will struggle to hold onto yield potential given the nitrogen issues, especially if conditions are dry late in the season. Soybeans have a chance to build yield potential in last-season rains are timely.
For the eastern leg as a whole, our Day 1 corn yield in Ohio was 148.37, down 18.5% from year-ago. Our soybean pod count in a 3'x3' square was 1,125.26, down 16.2% from year-ago. That corn yield figure is below the three-year average. The soybean pod count is 7.8% below the three-year average.
Other observations: We didn't see a heavy amount of prevent-plant acres in northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana. We also didn't see many double-crop soybeans. Instead of taking a risk on double-crop beans, producers in this area appear to be putting in tile on harvested wheat fields. There were more than a half dozen wheat fields that had recently been tiled along my route.
On Tuesday, scouts will sample fields on routes from Fishers, Indiana, to Bloomington, Illinois. We anticipate we'll see more variability in both the corn and soybean crops on Day 2 of this year's Crop Tour.
For More Information
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