Day one on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had our route heading out of Columbus OH almost due west through the counties of Madison, Champaign, Shelby and Darke. Our scouting crew consisted of Zhuo Qi Liu and Chonhui Gao of Dalian in China, Ted Seifried of Zaner Ag Hedge in Chicago IL. Another first day out with a very diverse group of individuals.
Our route was a split route today in OH as we pulled 10 samples between Columbus and the Indiana border. The samples in OH came from crop reporting districts 4 and 5. Starting with the corn, we saw a crop that at one point had tremendous potential, only to be cut short by excess water issues in places. In other places, much of that potential was realized. The low sample came from the first one we pulled at 120 bu./acre. Seeing the way it was tipped back, we wondered at that point if that was an omen. Apparently not. The next sample we pulled came in at 212 bu. /acre. Our highest yielding sample for the day though came from Champaign Co. at 240 bu./ acre. Our route average was 171 bu./acre. 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. We also encountered one field of extremely tall corn with high ear placement that had a significant amount of brittle snap.
The soybean samples also came from the same counties and crop reporting districts. Our highest 3’x3’ pod counts came from Champaign Co. with 2429 pods and the low also in Champaign Co. in the very next sample at 705. Our route average for the day was 1344. 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 Co. The soybeans weren’t particularly tall and rank. However, the sample was pulled near a large livestock operation, making one suspect there was a high yield environment present which may have placed the field at higher risk. Insect pressure was also very light with no soybean aphid pressure or evidence of Japanese beetles. Once again, soil moisture will be a key factor in determining the fate of the soybean yields on our route, much the same as it will on many of the routes today. As we moved west, it became increasingly drier after starting out getting mud on our shoes. In the areas that don’t receive significant rainfall soon maintaining the small pods we counted today will become increasingly difficult.
Did the Ohio corn crop live up to my expectations? The corn on our route was about what I would’ve expected: Extremely variable with dramatic differences within relatively short distances. Watching reports on Twitter, looking at rainfall totals in the Midwest and reading crop condition reports elsewhere ahead of time, the crop rebounded overall from a rather difficult start in many cases. Other routes reported similar numbers and variability. Likewise with the soybeans on our route. Unlike last year, substantial rains had yet to reach much of the area in OH we sampled.
The last half of IN is on the slate for tomorrow as well as the first half of IL. Looking at the crop out the window is one thing. Getting out and measuring it first hand is another. That’s why we’re out here.