Corn yields looking solid in 2023 Ohio Crop Tour

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

While the Ohio corn crop is further behind than in some years, yields appear to be solid in 2023. 

“We have really been pretty pleased with the progress of the crop and the overall health of the crop. I would say things look average to above average for the most part,” said Eric Tipton, a Fayette County farmer on the south leg of the 2023 Ohio Crop Tour. “We’re seeing corn anywhere from 145 all the way up to the 245 mark and I would say the majority of the corn that we’re seeing is somewhere in that 200 to 210 range with super good health.” 

Fayette Co. corn

Scouts took to the fields around Ohio the week of Aug. 8. Extension educator Grant Davis sorted through a number of Champaign County corn fields and was mostly impressed with what he found. In a field ropsaround five miles east of Urbana, planted April 28 in conventional-till several yield checks averaged out to 211 bushels. 

Champaign Co. corn

“Overall, this field is looking good, but not exceptional. No fungicide was applied and there is light to moderate grey leaf spot. I saw maybe one or two northern corn leaf blight lesions, no tar spot. There is fairly significant wildlife damage on one end of the field,” Davis said. “I’m a bit surprised that there are still many plants that have not totally finished pollination, with lingering yellow silks. This could be a testament to being behind on GDDs this year, given that this field was planted in April and isn’t further along than it is. I did a yield estimation in four locations throughout the field doing five counts in each location, finding estimations of 225, 211, 198, and 211. I should note that these estimates are assuming that the ears that still had blister ovules on the tips will finish out those kernels like they look like they should. It’s also noteworthy that many, if not most of the plants in this field, are attempting to finish a second ear. If we keep getting rain and even some of these second ears produce harvestable grain that could have a significant impact on yield.”

Crazy top in Champaign Co. corn.

Another field southeast of Urbana, planted April 16 was in the late R3 stage.

“This field is irrigated, and has received a fungicide application through the pivot, as well as another application by plane. As a result, there was very light grey leaf spot pressure, no tar spot, and no northern corn leaf blight,” Davis said “I did four counts around the field of five ears each, resulting in estimates of 265, 214, 267, and 246, with an overall estimate of 248. A noteworthy observation is that there was a considerable amount of crazy top in this field, as a result of the field flooding after a heavy rain early in the growing season. There is enough that it will probably affect yield in the patches that it is the worst. Overall, this field looked excellent.” 

For Fairfield County Extension, Stan Smith also found some strong yields, but corn that still needs more rain and time to finish out.

Fairfield Co. corn

“A wet, late April and early May that prevented much of the corn from being planted until the second half of May followed by the cool, dry weather in June has the county fully 2+ weeks behind normal maturity in 2023,” Smith said. “This field was planted May 22, dropped at 34,000 seeds and has an average of 32,100 plants. Singulation was excellent at planting. That, combined with near perfect conditions for emergence during and after planting, has resulted in a very nicely spaced stand of corn plants. There is very little disease present with only a few grey leaf spot lesions appearing on some of the lower leaves. There are no insects or insect damage. Weed control is excellent. Despite the delay in maturity and without the benefit of being able to confidently count pollinated kernels at this time, given timely rainfall for the balance of summer and no early frost, the county is likely looking at near trendline yields for corn in 2023 and, as in the recent past, this particular field can average 200+ bushels per acre. Looking at the rest of the county, some areas received windstorm damage during two different storms in July. Although not widespread, in a couple of other areas significant hail damage was received. Although not expected to be significant from a county wide standpoint, it’s too early to tell how much this may impact the average county yield in 2023.” 

In the northwest, Wood County yield checks turned up strong yields, but also corn that was a bit behind on Aug. 8.

Wood Co. corn

“On the corn we’re a week or two behind normal. We’re just at blister on this May planted corn or that April planted corn is just getting to that R3 dough stage. I made a big loop around the entire county and found a lot of consistency and a lot of great potential out there if we get the rain in August. If we can catch a couple more rains, we should fill those ears out the way that we anticipate and I would think that we’d be sitting pretty good,” said Nick Eckel, Extension educator in Wood County. “I think everything did get pollinated, but I don’t think everything got pollinated in that 24 to 48 hours like we like we usually anticipate happening. I attribute that to long silks and just a lot of mass there and a struggle to get that fully pollinated, especially when we started pollinating in the heat when we had those 90-degree temperatures. Temperatures tailed off as it finished here in August, so there’s just a little bit of unevenness of pollination, but I do think that’ll work its way out. Overall, though, there is just consistent corn throughout the county looking at yields anywhere from 238 bushels to 196 in the eight fields that I walked.”

Wood Co. corn

In general diseases levels have been low in corn, but several leaf diseases, including tar spot, have been starting to show up in northwest Ohio. 

Tar spot was been found in the Henry County field scouted by Extension educator Clint Schroeder. The corn was planted May 15 and was at late R2/early R3 growth stage. Along with a small amount of tar spot there was some gray leaf spot in the field with a yield estimate of 184 bushels. 

The recent uptick of disease levels, and the stage of the corn development led to plenty of work for spray planes in early August, Eckel said. 

Tar spot in Henry Co. corn

“Disease has been low. We’ve had some heavy dews and we did start to see a little bit of gray leaf spot and some northern corn leaf blight pop up and it just hasn’t spread very fast. We’ve had some reports of tar spot in the county and we have seen a lot of planes putting fungicide on trying to get ahead of it,” Eckel said. “I think it’s a good recommendation right now to get that done just because we’re a little bit later on our growth stage on this corn and we’re going to be grain filling throughout the end of August.” 

Henry Co. corn

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