From the Rows | Day 2 — Jeff Wilson (West)

Posted on 08/21/2019 2:10 AM

From the Rows: Day Two—Jeff Wilson

There were few good or bad surprises from Nebraska. Most fields seemed to have adequate moisture with a few needing a drink soon to sustain yield potential. Most corn and soybeans are mature enough that frost risk is limited given normal frost dates. A welcome sight to see for the Nebraska producer has enjoyed reduced crop damage from hail and wind, which have become a normal annual occurrence.  Sure, there are fields with weather damage, but the crops are still headed for about average yields.


Hats off to our 2019 scouts. We took more than 300 samples of both corn and soybean fields in Nebraska the past two days and head for western third of Iowa for crop sampling on Wednesday. The Nebraska Corn yield came in at 172.55 bushels per acre (BPA), down 3.7% from last year’s Tour data. That compared with a 3.1% drop projected by USDA in August to 186 BPA against last year’s government final forecast. Corn yield potential measured the past two days is actually up 2.9% from the prior three-year tour average of 167.7 BPA.


We measured irrigated corn on 41% of the samples this year, close to average. But about 60% of the Nebraska corn crop is under irrigation which raises USDA forecast tally above what we measure each year. The story here is that the Irrigated corn is good but not great which does not pull the tour average higher. Corn on dryland fields is better and that puts a floor under the state yield. Yields measured this week in Nebraska ranged from a low of 62 BPA to 273 BPA. That’s a wide range and the lack of more 250-plus yields caps the upside potential from strong irrigated crops. Part of the reduced topside is the late plantings as farmers struggled to get crops planted in a timely fashion. But summer weather has been ideal for pollination and grain fill. Still the key to reaching full yield potential is more sunshine, warm temperatures and lower humidity and rain. This crop looks susceptible to late, yield robbing diseases that restrict movement of sugars and starch into kernels.  


Soybean yield potential still appears preliminary with weather the next several weeks the key to big beans or small bean.  It is unlikely pods counts move higher from this week’s measurements. Wednesday and Tuesday tour results measured 1,210 pods in a three-foot by three-foot area this week, that that is down 3.7% from what we measured a year ago and down 0.6% from the prior three-year average. USDA is forecasting yields will drop 1.7% from a year ago.  There are signs of disease pressure just starting to increase, offsetting the positive impact of showers in parts of the state the past several weeks. Our tour range for soybean pods is wide at 227 to 3,121 pods in a square area. Soybean need warm temperatures at nigh and during the day, low humidity and more sunshine to reach yield potential.


The late start of Nebraska corn and soybeans planting this year and how that impacts on final corn and soybean yields will not be know until the combines roll this fall. Soybeans have benefitted from “just in time rain.”


Wednesday will focus on collecting data in the western third of Iowa and we will provide updates in Spencer, Iowa meeting.

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