Midwest Crop Tour Data Gathering

August 11, 2009 07:00 PM
Data Gathering Instructions

Stop every 20 to 25 miles along the marked route, (or once every county… gather about 15 samples per day) preferably where corn and soybean fields are side-by-side with no fences.

In Each Corn Field…
  1. Record crop district and county
  2. Go 35 paces into the field to start sampling
  3. Measure row spacing and record.
  4. Measure a 30 ft. plot, then count all ears in two rows in the plot. Record total.
  5. Pull the 5th, 8th and 11th ear off one row of the plot.
  6. Take corn ears back to car.
  7. Measure length of grain on each ear, average and record.
  8. Count number of kernel rows on each ear (will be even number), average and record.

In Each Bean Field…
  1. Record crop district and county
  2. Walk as far into the field as possible without causing significant damage via your path.
  3. Measure 3 ft. plot.
  4. Count total number of plants in the 3 ft. row and record.
  5. Randomly select three plants.
  6. Measure row spacing and record.
  7. Count all pods on selected plants and determine the average from those three plants.
  8. Multiply the average pod count by the number of plants in the 3 ft. section and record. (Special Note: There will most likely be small pods on each plant. WE WILL COUNT ANY POD THAT MEASURES 1/4 INCH OR MORE).
  9. Rate soil moisture and maturity against the two indices (on back of soybean data sheet) and record
Sampling Examples

Let's say you're in Jones County, Iowa, in Iowa crop district 6 (IA6). After you've gone 35 paces past the end rows and taken your sample, you ended up with counts that look something like this:

  Kernel Rows Grain Length Row Width Ear Population
ear 1 16 6.5 30 1st row 49
ear 2 14 7.0 30 2nd row 51
ear 3 18 6.0 30  


Location is the same as the corn sample. In the bean field, you collected this data. The plants are done blooming and the area got an inch of rain overnight.

Here's the data:

Row Space Plants in 3 foot Pod Count
7.5 10 plant 1 35
    plant 2 15
    plant 3 25

Soybean Rating Index


  1. no flowers or blooms present
  2. beginning bloom but no pods yet
  3. full bloom but no pods yet
  4. podding, but still has several blooms
  5. full pod and seed filling has started, blooming has ended
  6. beginning maturity, leaves changing color

Soil Moisture:

  1. very dry based on current conditions and history/medium to large carcks in the soil
  2. dry down about a foot/small to medium sized cracks in soil
  3. moist somewhere in the top 6 inches
  4. dry at surface, but moisture appears when you scrape the ground
  5. moist at the surface and all the way down
  6. standing water in small depressions, saturated soil

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