From the Rows with Brian Grete
It was a beautiful day in Ohio, with highs in the upper 70s. That's about the perfect weather for scouting crops. We can only hope the weather remains that nice for the rest of the Tour.
Variability was the word of the day in the sampling of Ohio fields. Variability from field to field was noted, as was variability within each field. That's likely the result of the rough conditions producers in the Buckeye State have faced throughout the growing season. Crops were "mudded in" and then, in a lot of cases, it turned hot and dry in July. Variability is not the recipe for producing big yields. The other issue facing much of the Ohio corn and soybean crops is maturity.
On my particular route through crop districts 5, 2 and 1 in Ohio, we had a low corn yield estimate of 139.6 bu. per acre in Hancock County and a high of 234.5 bu. per acre in Crawford County. The average corn yield for all samples taken on my route was 171.14 bu. per acre. In general, the crop was in good health, although conditions deteriorated as we moved west, with the corn being more pale and dry in the western portion of our route.
Soybean samples from our route showed plant populations were light, likely the result of the poor planting conditions. As a result, pod counts were on the light side on most of the samples we pulled. There was little to no disease pressure on our particular route and insect problems were limited. On the few fields where we did see evidence of "critters," they were gone after being sprayed. But reduced plant health on those fields will make it hard for the plant to fill out all of the pods which were counted.
All Tour samples taken from Ohio produced a corn yield estimate of 156.26 bu. per acre, which is down 5.6% from a year ago in the state. The biggest reason was ear counts in 60' of row, which declined from 97.02 last year to 92.79 this year. That was the result of many instances of skips in rows and/or blank stalks. USDA's Aug. 1 Ohio corn yield estimate of 158 bu. per acre was down 3.07% from a year ago.
All Tour samples taken from Ohio produced a soybean pod count in a 3'x3' square of 1,253.21. That's up 4.3% from a year ago. But an increase in pod counts from the Tour does not guarantee a bigger yield. Many of the route reports noted flat pods. If late-season conditions aren't favorable or this year's later-developing crop isn't allowed to fully finish, not all of those pods will fill out.
Because of the late planting date, the Ohio crops need time to mature. They will also need timely rains to get them to the finish line and maintain the yield potential we measured for corn and for the soybean crop to fill the pods we counted. That means there's still a lot of uncertainty with this year's Ohio corn and soybean crops.
Day 2 of the eastern leg of the Tour will see scouts sampling fields from Fishers, Ind., to Bloomington, Ill.
For more information:
2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour