Midwest Crop Tour - Day 1

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Pam Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

GOMER, Ohio (DTN) — In early going Monday morning, scouts on at least one route of the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour found corn yields that were all over the map in Ohio.

After sampling two corn fields early in the day in Delaware County, Ohio, that looked to pull an average of 204 and 206 bushels per acre, the scouts dove into a field in Marion County that looked impressive from the road, but not so much in the corn rows. The ears were less than 6 inches in length with added tip-back. Still, that field came in at 160 bpa.

"That is the whole point of the crop tour is to get the meat out of the field and see what is there," said Mike Berdo, a scout and farmer from Washington, Iowa. "There were a lot of ears that did not make grain."

Once scouts moved into Wyandot and Hardin counties in Ohio, drier conditions throughout the summer showed in the fields and projected yields dropped dramatically. Scouts sampled consecutive corn fields with projected yields of 69 bpa and 65 bpa.

"I think this is probably because we had very dry conditions during pollination," said Greg Matli, a long-time scout on the tour and Indiana’s state statistician for USDA NASS. "The plant count was there, and we had a lot of ears that just aren’t going to make it. This reminds me of 2012."

Yet, just 15 miles down the road in Hardin County, the scouts pulled a corn sample calculated out to 199 bpa with solid grain length.

For soybeans, the tour scouts don’t measure possible yield, but pod counts in a 3-foot-by-3-foot square. One tour route through Delaware, Wyandot, Hardin and Allen counties in Ohio showed an average close to 1,400 pods, while the average overall in Ohio over the past three years is 1,230 pods.

The eastern leg had 14 scout teams that disbursed from Dublin, Ohio, and were heading to Fishers, Indiana, by the end of the day.

The western leg of the crop tour has 10 scout teams, and departed from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Monday morning with its first stop in Lincoln County, South Dakota. Scouts saw crops that looked healthy and had adequate moisture.

On one car on the route, scouts took five corn samples in southeast Nebraska that averaged 157 bpa, which was similar to last year’s 161.41 bpa tour average for that district. Scouts were surprised to find soybeans still blooming in some fields and yields were a disappointing average of 624.4 pods in the 3-foot-by-3-foot square.

The South Dakota 1,068.71 tour pod count was higher than normal, but still this year was thought to be light for the district and perhaps a result of late planting.

Waterhemp populations were the biggest agronomic problem found as scouts crossed the Missouri River into Nebraska at Yankton, South Dakota. Population counts were hurting yields, but could change as scouts find more irrigation acres.

This route continues south and west and cuts through much of the center part of Nebraska before ending in Grand Island tonight.


Editor’s note: You can follow the tour’s progress by following @ChrisClaytonDTN for eastern leg updates, @PamSmithDTN for western leg updates or the hashtag #pftour16. Please remember that each tweet represents only what’s seen on that particular car’s route and doesn’t necessarily represent the big picture.

Watch DTN Ag News at midday for updates and in the evening when the state average yields are updated.