The ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour, Day 1

I’m working late from my hotel room in Fishers, Indiana, our first stop on the ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour. Day 1 took our band of merry men and maidens from Columbus to this suburb of Indianapolis via a dozen or so different routes across Western Ohio and Eastern Indiana. Along the way, scouts sampled corn and soybean fields every 15-20 miles, for a total of just under 90 different data points in Ohio alone.

The weather this year is perfect for the Crop Tour. The dews weren’t as heavy, they burned off fairly quickly, the humidity wasn’t as oppressive in the middle of the day, and by and large a scout didn’t necessarily have to break a sweat to get the job done. This is my kind of Tour weather! For our group, which travelled due North from Columbus through Morrow, Crawford, Richland and Huron counties, then due West through Seneca, Wyandot, Hancock, Allen, and Van Wert counties, we saw some of the best corn in the state.

The crop is fairly well advanced, though as most of us already knew, there are basically two different crops to evaluate: the one planted in roughly the third week of April, and the one planted sometime after Mothers’ Day. The early corn is by and large better than 200 bushels if it was managed anywhere near good. Folks who kept weed pressures at a minimum, which nearly all did, had no trouble getting North of 180-190 bushels per acre. In the one field we surveyed sub-150, pressures from Giant Ragweed (Glyphosate Resistant?) were significant, and I would presume to be a contributing factor. In the one field we sampled in Van Wert county at 155bu/ac, dryness was a key factor, as was early wetness. Late planting followed by dry weather is a recipe for crop stress.

The ProFarmer average for Ohio on 89 samples is 165.60 bu/ac, up 3.6% over last year’s Tour average of 159.73, and well above the three year average Tour yield of 150.93.

Soybeans, on the other hand, were mostly later planted, and still very much growing and setting pods. The first samples we counted, from Morrow to Huron counties, were fairly mature, and set pods in the 1,200-1,500 pods/square yard range. As we turned West, however, the beans in many parts were still blooming, and had set perhaps 400-800 pods per yard. These beans were very, very healthy, and with the right amount of precipitation, should put on some additional pods and have great yield potential. If the remainder of the season is dry, however, all bets are off.

Several readers of my ongoing Tour coverage asked questions about soybean yield and corn kernel depth.  I tackled these issues in a video on my Facebook page. My page also features pictures from the day’s events for your viewing enjoyment. We’ll have my day’s interviews on first thing in the morning, and I’ll have more from Bloomington, Illinois tomorrow night.

My thanks once again this year to Pioneer Hi-Bred International for sponsoring ABN Radio’s coverage of the ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour. Feel free to send me your questions, and stay tuned to all the above listed sources for the latest in how the crop looks across the Eastern Corn Belt!