"From the Cars" - Emily Flory - Western Tour Day 2

August 21, 2012 08:28 PM

Crop Tour on The Road - Crop Tour Intern, Emily Flory

As day two comes to a close in Nebraska on the western routes of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour we continue to see variability throughout NE. Monday was an eye opener as far as how the heat has affected the crop in the worst of ways. Corn fields were anywhere from 0 bu. in dryland fields to well over 200 bu. per acre in irrigated areas.

As scouts toured the eastern side of Nebraska they were told to look at different characteristics from years past. As a part of the drought, scouts were told to check the beans-per-pod in addition to the pods per plant. If the beans-per-pod average is down from last year but the pods per plant are not as low as expected, yield counts could still be altered because of lost pod fill.

**Picture above shows non-irrigated field on the left with a rough yield of 1.7 bu/acre; right side flood irrigated with a rough yield of 190 bu/acre.

Factors limiting corn yield potential on our first day of the Tour were heat, heat, heat and dry conditions for northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota. Routes that went north of Sioux Falls, SD, saw better yields but the drought hit southern SD hard in early July after little rain in June. During the nightly meeting in Grand Island, NE, the crowd talked through the USDA 8% abandonment estimate arguing that the number may be closer to 14% cut for silage as we move through August.

Day 2 silage cut fields were fewer because fields will actually be counted towards harvested acres. Also, we moved out of the heart of cattle country.

As day two came around yield limitations were different for most routes heading to Nebraska City. Moving south and east meant irrigation in the morning and dryland in the afternoon. Unlike northern Nebraska, this area had a little more rain throughout the year and doesn't have as much variability in the soils. This means instead of 0 bu. for low-end dryland corn yields like we saw up north, we saw more 50 bu. to 80 bu. yields. Its still dry, but there is a crop to be harvested instead of chopped.

Moving into tomorrow we'll say good-bye to irrigation and say hello to western Iowa! We'll cover the western three crop districts in Iowa as we head to Spencer, IA, for a different look at the Corn Belt.

Keep up with the tour on Twitter by searching #pftour12 and on agweb.com.

From the car,

Emily Flory

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