From the Rows with Brian Grete
Day 2 of the 2016 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had scouts sampling fields from Fishers, Indiana, (a suburb of Indianapolis) to Bloomington, Illinois, along 12 designated routes.
My route took me west/northwest out of Fishers through crop districts 5, 4 and 1 in Indiana. In crop district 5, we took one corn sample from Tipton County and two from Clinton County, with a range from 129.1 bu. to 211.6 bu. per acre. As we moved west into crop district 4, our corn yields became more consistent. In three stops in Tippecanoe and Warren counties, our yields ranged from 191.8 to 228.6 bu. per acre. The two samples we took in Benton County in crop district 1 were 170.8 bu. and 151.2 bu. per acre. In total, the eight corn samples we pulled in Indiana today averaged 182.4 bu. per acre.
Our soybean samples continued to show a lot a variance in pod counts, though not as much as in Ohio. In crop district 5, our samples ranged from 1,080 to 1,626.24 pods in a 3'x3' square. In crop district 4, our range was 811.8 to 1,332.8. And in crop district 1, our pod counts were 1086.72 and 1103.04. In total, our Indiana pod counts in a 3'x3' square averaged 1,166.5.
For all 12 routes on the eastern leg of Crop Tour, our Indiana corn yield came in at 173.42 bu. per acre, up 21.3% from what we found on Tour last year. USDA's Aug. 1 Indiana corn yield was 187 bu. per acre, up 24.7% from last year. While the object of Crop Tour isn't to prove or disprove USDA's Aug. 1 estimate, the percentage change in yield relative to year-ago USDA found and that of what we found are in the same ballpark.
Our soybean pod count for Indiana was 1,178.41, up 7.8% from last year. USDA's Aug. 1 Indiana soybean yield estimate at 55 bu. per acre was up 10% from 2015.
As my route moved into Illinois, the corn yields improved and the crop became even more consistent. We pulled seven yield samples in Vermillion, Iroquois, Livingston, Ford and McLean counties in crop districts 4 and 5. The range on those samples was 163.4 bu. to 235.4 bu. per acre, with an average of 202.4 bu. per acre.
For soybeans in Illinois today, my route had an average 3'x3' pod count of 1,296.4, with a range of 630.6 to 2,995. Soybean pod variability remained high.
Final Day 2 observations
Indiana has a good corn crop, but i don't think there's quite the consistency needed to produce a record yield in the state. The fields I sampled had enough variability in ear counts or grain length to make me believe the state will come up short of the 188 bu. per acre yield it produced in 2014. And USDA may have been a little optimistic with its 187 bu. per acre yield in August.
As expected, corn yields have improved as we moved west across the eastern Corn Belt. I anticipate they will be even better on Day 3 when we sample from western Illinois and eastern Iowa. After completing our sampling in Illinois tomorrow, it will give us a better idea of whether the state can reach the 200 bu. yield USDA forecast for the state in August, which would tie the 2014 record. In 2014, corn fields and yields in Illinois were very consistent. I'm not convinced after seeing the eastern side of the state today the Illinois corn crop is as good as 2014. And even though we don't sample in the southern portion of Illinois, I'm fairly certain that area won't be as strong as in 2014. I'm anxious to see the corn crop in the western portion of the state Wednesday.
For soybeans, the soil moisture is there to fill pods. Typically when that's the case, soybean yields build.
On Tuesday, scouts will sample fields on routes from Bloomington, Illinois, to Iowa City, Iowa. I expect to see better and more consistent crops on Day 3 as we push westward.
For More Information
Be sure to follow AgWeb's coverage of Farm Journal Media's Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Watch reports from the field by following Farm Journal Media journalists along for the ride on Twitter: Alison Rice at @agweb_alison, Ben Potter at @potterben, Chip Flory at @ChipFlory, Brian Grete at @bgrete, and Betsy Jibben at @BetsyJibben. And check AgWeb each evening this week for the day's freshest summary on what they're seeing in the field.
Additional Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour information is available on ProFarmer.com.