My route took me west out of Noblesville, Indiana, through central and west-central Indiana. In 7 stops in Indiana crop districts 5, 4 and 1 in central and west-central Indiana. Crop maturity remained behind normal in our route, but it was better than what we saw on the first day of Crop Tour. Yields were also improved along my route. We saw a noticeable improvement in yields and crop conditions around the West Lafayette area to the Illinois border.
We had an average yield of 173.3 bu. per acre, with a range from 142.8 bu. to 225.4 bu. per acre. Ear counts in most of the fields we sampled were decent, though they could have been better. We continued to see the impacts of very wet spring conditions, with skips and blank stalks in many of the rows we sampled. I finally pulled my first corn sample that was starting to dent. It’s amazing it took me a day and a half of sampling fields for that to happen, but that’s the case this year.
Pod counts in 3’x3’ square along my route averaged 1359. We must have been on a really good route, because other routes didn’t find nearly those pod counts.
My route saw some prevent-plant fields in western Indiana, but not the number that were observed in western Ohio and eastern Indiana.
As we transitioned into Illinois crop district 5, our corn yields and soybean pod counts declined. The number of prevent-plant fields was also up from what we saw in western Indiana. Many of these fields are ones that produce 200-bu.-plus corn yields and high soybean yields on a regular basis. To see good, black dirt that wasn’t planted in this area was very revealing about how rough spring conditions were. You normally don’t see any unplanted fields in these counties.
Final Day 2 observations
The Crop Tour average corn yield of 161.46 bu. per acre for Indiana was down 11.4% from last year. USDA’s Aug. 1 corn yield was down 12.2% from last year, so the percentage changes are similar. The question with the Indiana corn crop is how much of the yield potential we measured on Crop Tour will be realized at harvest. That will be largely determined by when the growing season ends. The eastern portion of the state needs more time than western locations, but virtually the whole state is going to need extra weeks on the end of the growing season to maximize what yield potential is out there.
As was the case in Ohio, the drop in the Indiana corn yield was driven by lower ear counts. Even an extended growing season wouldn’t produce more ears. So the crop must hold onto its grain length and add dry matter to maximize yield potential.
The average pod count in a 3’x3’ square totaled 923.94, down 29.6% from what we found last year on Crop Tour. Much like in Ohio, the Indiana soybean crop leaves a lot to be desired. Many of the fields were flowering, so there is some potential to add pods, but it’s going to take rains and an extended growing season to make that happen.
Through the first two days of Crop Tour, the immaturity of crops is the main story, but everyone already new that would be the case. The most alarming thing is the soybean crop. Pod counts are really low. Pod counts in Indiana and Ohio are 24.2% and 32.8% below the three-year Tour average, respectively.