Scout Your Fields, Too!

By: Pro Farmer Editors

August  14,  2015


While we’re scouting fields across the Corn Belt Aug. 17-20 on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, you can participate with your own corn data via the Pro Farmer Virtual Crop Tour. This will help you compare your yields to potential yields from across the Corn Belt, and it will help us get a deeper view of the corn crop.

In each corn field — (Get past the end rows and then take 35 paces into the field.)

  • At the 35th pace, lay out a 30-foot plot and count all the ears that will make grain on two 30-foot rows.
  • From one of those two rows, pull the 5th, 8th and 11th ears. This gives us a consistently random process to select sample ears.
  • Take the ears back to your vehicle.
  • Measure the length of grain (in inches, rounded to the nearest one-quarter inch) on each ear (don’t measure blank cob), average and record.
  • Count the number of kernel rows around on each ear (in inches), average and record.
  • Record the row width in the field.

To calculate the estimated yield, take the average number of ears in 30-foot of row TIMES the average length of grain per ear TIMES the average number of kernel rows around; DIVIDE the total by row width.

Example: 50 ears X 6.5 inches X 16.7 kernel rows / 30 inch rows = 180.9 This example gives you an estimated yield at that spot in the field of 180.9 bu. per acre.

Go to and enter your collected data there.

In each soybean field — (Pick a ‘representative spot’ in the field.)

  • Walk as far into the field as possible without causing significant damage in your path. 
  • Measure a 3-foot plot and count all the plants in the plot.
  • Randomly select three plants. Count all the pods on those three plants and calculate the average number of pods per plant.
  • Measure row spacing and record.
  • Multiply the average number of pods per plant by the number of plants in the 3-foot plot. Multiply that number by 36, and divide by row width.

Example: 14 plants X 32 pods/plant X 36 / 15 inch rows = 1,075.2 pods in a 3’X3’ square. Compare your results to what we find on Tour.