On the first day of the 2016 Midwest Crop Tour, scouts reported a more mixed variety of yields and drier crop conditions than many expected.
In Minnehaha, Lincoln and Union counties, one group of scouts found high corn populations, with an average ear count of 95.8 and a rough yield of 167.1 bpa, which was above last year’s numbers.
“Every field we walked out of last year was raining or you were walking about an inch of mud on your boots,” said Jarod Creed, director of customer risk management for Gavilon. “Only mud we saw was in a flood irrigated field with the water running.”
The situation was different for other scouts, as shown by Pro Farmer tour data for the state. According to data released Monday night based on 76 samples, South Dakota posted an average ear count of 83.46 and rough yield of 149.78.
Compared to last year, that rough yield represents a 9.7% drop. “If I noticed just one thing, it’s like we are just missing an ear or two on every sample,” said Chip Flory, editorial director of Pro Farmer a Monday’s tour meeting in Grand Island, Neb. His group averaged a 121 bpa after seven stops, for example.
That was the case for other scouts as well. In Aurora, Douglas and Charles counties, one group averaged a rough yield of 137, which was attributed to lower populations.
It was a common observation among scouts, who underscored the predictable impact on production. “It’s really hard to get a 200-bushel crop with those few years,” said farmer Brent Judisch.
Last year, South Dakota harvested nearly 800 bushels of corn, with a record yield of 159 bushels per acre; USDA currently projects a 147 bpa for the yield.
In terms of soybeans, South Dakota populations were also below 2015, with an average of 970.61 pods in a 3x3 square, according to Pro Farmer data. That represents an 8% drop compared to 2015, when the state recorded an average 3x3 pod count of 1,054.98.
What else was different from last year? The dry, cracked soils in South Dakota’s soybean fields. “South Dakota is going to need some rain to finish up the crop,” Creed said.
Last year, South Dakota produced 236 million bushels of soybeans, with a yield of 46 bushels per acre; USDA estimates a yield of 42 bpa for the state this year.
First established in the 1970s by the Illinois Corn Growers, Pro Farmer has managed the Midwest Crop Tour since 1993. It covers the seven key corn- and soybean-growing states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, thanks to the more than 100 scouts who stop every 15 to 20 miles on the tour’s specific daily routes of several hundred miles.
The tour finishes Thursday, Aug. 25 in Rochester, Minn.
Be sure to follow AgWeb's coverage of Farm Journal Media's Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Watch reports from the field by following Farm Journal Media journalists along for the ride on Twitter: Alison Rice at @agweb_alison, Ben Potter at @potterben, Chip Flory at @ChipFlory, Brian Grete at @bgrete, and Betsy Jibben at @BetsyJibben. And check AgWeb each evening this week for the day's freshest summary on what they're seeing in the field.