By: Pro Farmer Editors
The fourth and final day of the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour concluded with the release of official results from Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa samples resulted in an average corn yield of 178.75 per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,173.59 in a 3'x3' square. Minnesota samples resulted in an average corn yield of 170.76 bu. per acre and an average soybean pod count of 1,031.54 in a 3'x'3 square.
The eastern leg traced a route from Iowa City, Iowa, to Rochester, Minnesota, and found wide variability in the crops along the way.
Pro Farmer Editor and eastern Tour Director Brian Grete noted, "When the samples from all 12 eastern Tour routes were tabulated, the Iowa corn yield came in at 178.75 bu. per acre, up 4.0% from year-ago and 13.2% above the three-year Tour average. The extreme consistency we saw in Illinois was not seen in Iowa. In fact, the route my group had in Iowa today saw extreme variability in eastern Iowa."
Eastern Tour Consultant Mark Bernard said, "All in all, the corn crop we saw today was about what we expected. We knew the crop had been short on moisture and this was evidenced by the tip back on the ears in the corn as well as the general decline in bean pod counts as we worked our way north. The lower soybean pod counts as we headed north likely foretell the tale of a soybean crop that could've been. Not enough days in the season left to make this crop a contender. Our high pod count in the 3' x 3' square was 2,095 in Buchanan County and the low was 749 in Worth County with an average count of 1,211. A major part of the problem was the low relative plant counts in our 3' sample many times well below 20 even in 30" rows."
The western leg followed a route from Spencer, Iowa, to Rochester, Minnesota, where scouts observed crops showing signs of a tough start to the growing season.
Western Tour Leader and Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory commented, "There has been pretty amazing consistency in the ear counts today. It's looking like an ear population of 30,000 per acre in most fields. However, heavy rains early in the season took a toll on the crop and fields are not as lush and green as those seen in western Iowa yesterday due to nitrogen loss. Soybeans in a 3'x3' square ranged from 490 to 1,500 on my route, with an average of 852 pods. I'd like to see fatter pods than what we've been seeing and pod filling is behind the normal pace, which makes sense considering the lack of rain up until Tuesday night."
Western Tour Consultant Jason Franck said, "Drowned out spots, short plants and nitrogen deficiency have been consistent problems through every leg of this route. Ear counts have been consistent, but there is a noticeable setback with this crop due to moisture problems early on and the nitrogen deficiency we are seeing now. Beans are definitely behind because of all the moisture early on. A lot of canopies have not filled in. The crop needs to make up a lot of ground in the next few weeks. Water hemp is also an issue with the Minnesota bean crop due to the early-season moisture problems. "
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer's Virtual Crop Tour.
Follow the Tour on Twitter with the hash tag #pftour14.