Preliminary Day One Observations from Tour Leaders

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:21 AM

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour scouts hit the fields this morning, with scouts on the western Tour beginning their day in South Falls, South Dakota, en route to Grande Island, Nebraska. Scouts on the eastern leg began their day in Dublin, Ohio, and traveled to Fishers, Indiana. Tonight, official results from South Dakota and Ohio will be released.

Pro Farmer Editorial Director and Western Tour Director Chip Flory spent his morning pulling seven samples from District 9 in South Dakota. His route found an average corn yield of around 121 bu. per acre and pod counts in a 3 foot by 3 foot square of 1,024. Flory says they are measuring corn yield -- not potential -- on his route today, as the crop has dented.

"The lack of timely rains in June and July and above-normal temps pushed the corn crop in the region," says Flory. "But the right amount of stress at the right time was a good thing for the soybean crop. Pod counts are very good and maturity is very good. One more good rain on the South Dakota bean crop and it will be a good one."

Brent Judisch of Cedar Falls, Iowa, sampled five fields in South Dakota District 3 and he reports an average corn yield of 156.4 bu. per acre and pod counts in a 3 foot by 3 foot square of 624. He has sampled four fields in Nebraska District 3, with an average yield of 165 bu. per acre and pod counts in a 3 foot by 3 foot square of 680.

"This is a consistent looking crop, but yields are coming in a little lower than I expected. On the bright side, plant health has been good all morning," says Judisch. "Soybeans look healthy, but we are disappointed by pod counts -- too much variability. We have been in and out of good and not so good soybean fields all morning. Sometimes planting 30-inch soybean rows is a good thing when there isn't enough moisture in this region, but that really held back the pod counts this year. We've seen a couple of dry pockets south of Yankton for about 20 minutes, but otherwise we have been in been good soil moisture today. Soil moisture at this point is good enough to help finish the crop off strong."

Pro Farmer Editor and eastern Tour Leader Brian Grete has pulled three samples in Ohio District 4, four samples in Ohio District 1 and four samples in Indiana District 3. His route average for the morning is 161.4 bu. per acre and 1,344.2.

Grete said his day started with good soil moisture, but that went downhill significantly as he entered Ohio District 1. "In Ohio District 4, the crop was pushed along with a lack of moisture," he says. "Soybeans haven't been weedy and very little insect pressure. They had a recent rain in northeast Indiana, and it came in time for beans, but is too late for corn. Maturity of corn was in dent in Ohio District 4 and has been in milk since then. Some of the fields look pretty decent from the road, but it doesn't appear as good as in the field. We've seen plant health more variable than what you would anticipate. We knew this would be the most stressed crops we would see this week. Ear populations haven't been off the charts, and there has been a lot of tipback talk, but our route hasn't seen a significant amount of tipback. I think lower ear populations due to too wet of conditions during planting played a roll."

Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard has taken two samples in Ohio District 5 and five samples in Ohio District 4. He reports a morning corn yield average of 160 bu. per acre and soybean pod counts in a 3 foot by 3 foot square of 1,200.

"We have seen a fair amount of tipback and some real variability in ear size," says Bernard. "Based on lower kernels around, you can tell they were struggling with dryness at one point. Ear population is also down due to planting problems. Some gray leaf spot is starting to surface, and some smut, but not a large percentage of plants. Some of these guys, because it was dry, didn't dump fungicides and it's starting to show."

Due to the recent moisture that has moved through the area he sampled in this morning, Bernard said soybeans could set more pods. "It has good moisture to draw from right now, which is a big plus for this time of year."

Follow #pftour16 Leaders Chip Flory and Brian Grete, as well as Consultants Mark Bernard and Emily Carolan on Twitter. Follow Julianne Johnston for official Tour results.

Additional Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour information is available on


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