Eastern Tour – Day 1
The 2018 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour kicked off in Dublin, Ohio, (a suburb of Columbus), with scouts sampling fields along 12 designated routes to Westfield, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis).
My route took me west out of Dublin through crop districts 5 and 4 in central and west-central Ohio. Corn yields were very consistent along my route, ranging from 166.7 bu. to 209.9 bu. per acre, aside from one clunker that measured only 109.9 bu. per acre. Of course, that was the only Ohio sample my group pulled that wasn’t dented. Our average yield from eight samples was 178.4 bu. per acre.
Soybean pod counts in a 3’x3’ square were also strong in central and west-central Ohio, averaging 1421.1 pods along my route. Our pod counts ranged from 612 to 2545.2. The beans were very uniform, green and healthy. That’s not always the case in Ohio. But this year the yield “factory” is strong.
As my route moved into east-central Indiana, corn yields remained strong, with an average of 185.7 bu. per acre. Soybean pod counts declined notably to an average of 990.2. Until all of the route data is in for the entire state of Indiana, however, I’ll reserve judgement on either the Hoosier state’s corn or soybean crops.
Final Day 1 observations
They say records are meant to be broken. In the case of the Ohio corn crop, we may find out this year. USDA pegged the Ohio corn yield at a record 180 bu. per acre in August. The average yield from 111 samples pulled from the state on the first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour was 179.6 bu. per acre. Historically back to 2001, the Crop Tour has measured the Ohio corn crop 3.0 bu. per acre too light. That would suggest the Ohio corn crop may get even bigger than USDA estimated in August. The number of ears per 60 foot of row were up significantly from last year and the three-year average at nearly 100. Grain length was also up marginally. One of the questions coming into Crop Tour was whether kernel depth and test weights would be high enough to support a record yield out of Ohio. While there were some reports of smaller kernels, there wasn’t enough to cause great concern.
The average soybean pod count in a 3'x3' square in Ohio came in 12.8% above last year at 1248.2. Not only are there a lot of pods in Ohio, but they are plump and there’s late-season moisture to sustain them. We counted a lot of pods that were plump and have the late-season moisture to plump up even more. Some years we measure a lot of small or flat pods that could turn into something. This year, there’s more real potential from what we saw and measured.
As we moved into eastern Indiana, rains fell on crop scouts. It’s good for crops to get late-season rains, but it’s not good for crop scouts. Having to sample crops in rain during Crop Tour sucks. Of course, it could always be worse. You could be stuck axel deep on a dirt road in Nebraska for nearly two hours.