Preliminary Day 2 Observations From the Midwest Crop Tour

August 23, 2011 09:26 AM

The eastern leg of the 2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began in Fishers, Indiana, and travels to Bloomington, Illinois. The western leg of the Tour began in Grand Island, Nebraska, and will meet in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Tonight, final results Indiana and Nebraska will be released on Following are preliminary route reports from Tour leaders.

Western Tour leader and Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory this morning pulled nine samples in the Nebraska counties of Hamilton, Butler, Polk and Saunders (District 6). Chip reports corn yields are coming in below year-ago for this area, but above the 3-year average. "I'm a little surprised by that, because I was hoping this northern route on day two of the Tour would have been a little bit better than what we saw a year-ago because I know it's drier further south," he says. "That will make it more difficult to get the average up for the state."

For the soybean crop, Chip says another rain would go a long way toward finishing the crop given the lack of disease or insect pressures. He says pod counts are "average."

Western Tour consultant Terry Johnston this morning took samples in the Nebraska counties of Hall (District 5), Adams (District 8), Clay, Fillmore, Saline and Gage (District 9). He reports corn yields have ranged 190 bu. per acre to 114 bu., with an average of 135 bushels.

"The corn crop does not look as good as in previous years. There are more diseases and insects -- just not as healthy as last year," says Terry. "Most of the ears are filled out, but there just aren't enough of them. Seed germination wasn't as good as they would have liked. As we come east and get into the dryland corn, it's getting drier. When we were further west in our irrigated samples, moisture was good and grass was green. But now we're running into a mature crop -- full dent."

Terry reports bean pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square ranged 694 to 1932 pods, with an average of 1142 pods. He says the crop is clean and consistent with no major insect or disease problems. "But we have a lower pod count because of heat and moisture. The crop needs a rain to get pods filled," he adds.

Eastern Tour leader and Pro Farmer Senior Market Analyst Brian Grete this morning sampled in the Indiana counties Boone (District 5), Montgomery, Fountain, Warren (District 4) and Benton (District 1). For corn yields, his route this morning averaged 131 bu. per acre, with a low of 77.1 bu. per acre and a high of 164.6 bushels.

"Generally we're seeing the maturity has been pushed. We're seeing stress from heat and dryness and it's just showing up a lot more today than yesterday. We're looking at a different crop completely than yesterday on my route. Ears are dropping in some of the fields. It's dried up, brown and yellow. We've seen wind damage, some hail damage -- a variety of weather has been thrown at this crop," he says.

In soybean fields, Brian's route this morning has seen an average pod count in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square of 1151.82, with a low of 506.8 pods and a high of 1407.84. "Most fall around 1000 pods," he says. In general, Brian says the beans look better than the corn does from a health standpoint and today's rain in the area will help beans fill pods. "But corn has largely shut down. Some of the corn will be benefited from today's rain, but the bulk of what we've sampled today -- especially as we have traveled west, won't be helped as much," he says.

Eastern Tour consultant Mark Bernard sampled in the Indiana counties of Grant (District 5), Wabash, Kosciusko, Marshall, Fulton (District 2), Pulaski and Jasper (District 1). He reports corn yields are all over the board and maturity varies. He reports a sample high on this route of 223 bu. per acre, with an average near 170 bushels. "Most of the fields are still in dough and early dent," he reports. "The crop has been stressed by a lack of moisture. Some of the crop on lighter ground was short. Grain length seems to be an issue on some of the samples, but more so of a concern is a lower-than-usual ear count." 

Mark reports pod counts in a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square have ranged from 712 pods to 1454, with an average around 1100 pods. "That's not a really good pod count," he notes. "We've run into some issues in the beans in the drier areas. I've seen spider mites and an increasing number of aphids -- because they'll trim yield potential if they are not scouted and managed. Still a lot of flat pods. The rain should help the pods today in the areas we have been through and should help to maintain the corn yield, but won't add to it."

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