From the Rows with Brian Grete
The 2014 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 Fischers, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis).
My route took me northwest out of Dublin. We made one stop in Union County in District 5. The other six stops my crew made in western Ohio were in District 4 -- Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties. Our first stop was our worst corn yield calculation at 140.7 bu. per acre, while our last stop in Ohio was our best yield at 287.2 bu. per acre. For the seven samples we collected in western Ohio, my route's average yield calculation was 189.8 bu. per acre.
As we crossed into eastern Indiana, the most noticeable change was in soil moisture. Conditions were far from wet in western Ohio, but they were noticeably drier in eastern Indiana along my route. Our first stop, just 12 miles from the monster yield we sampled on our last stop in Ohio, was our second lowest of the day at 145.2 bu. per acre. For our five stops in eastern Indiana, we had a route average yield of 193.7 bu. per acre. While conditions were drier in eastern Indiana than western Ohio, the corn crop is hanging on relatively well -- at least along the route I had today. But there is risk of the crop losing some of the yield potential we measured if conditions remain dry.
The most attention-grabbing aspect with corn along my route today was the lack of maturity with the crop. We sampled one field that was in the early milk stage and only one that had started to dent. The bulk of our corn samples were fields that were in the late milk to early dough stage. Obviously, the corn crop is going to need time to realize the yield potential we measured today. But with that said, an early end to the growing season isn't as much of a concern in western Ohio and eastern Indiana as it is in some other areas. That's partly because the area is "protected" by the Great Lakes. Still, producers in this area have reason to be at least a little concerned about the crop's ability to fully finish before the growing season ends.
As for soybeans, there was a lot of variability on our route today. In western Ohio, we had pod counts in a 3'X3' square of 988.8 to 2,171. The average pod count for my route was 1,492. When we crossed the boarder into eastern Indiana, soybean pod counts declined noticeably. My route found an average pod count in a 3'X3' square of only 952.8 in eastern Indiana.
While corn yields went up in eastern Indiana compared to western Ohio, despite drier soils, soybean pod counts declined. That signals the corn crop benefited from early season moisture while it was probably too wet for beans. And when beans were establishing their yield "factory," conditions turned dry.
For all of our routes on the eastern leg of Crop Tour, the average yield calculation in Ohio was 182.11, up 6.1% from year-ago and 24.6% greater than the three-year average. The biggest change was in ear counts, which are up from both a year ago and the three-year average. Grain length is shorter than a year ago, but up from the three-year Tour average. The average soybean pod count in a 3'X3' square came in at 1,342.42. That's up 4.6% from year-ago and 12.8% greater than the three-year average.
On Tuesday, scouts will sample fields on routes from Fishers, Indiana, to Bloomington, Illinois. A couple of Indiana producers who were in attendance at the Fishers meeting promised me we'd see better crops on Day 2.
Follow the tour on Twitter with the hash tag #pftour14.
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