From the Data Bunker | Aug. 17, 2021 (Emily Carolan)

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From the Data Bunker - Day 2

Day 2 is a wrap! Scouts on the eastern leg of the tour spent the day finishing up the second half of Indiana and moved their way into Illinois. The western leg covered the rest of Nebraska and made their way into Nebraska City for the nightly event.

More big yield announcements came from the east today, with Indiana posting an 193.48 bu./ac average, based on tour samples. Indiana surpassed the record high that was set back in 2014, which was 185.03 bu./ac. The crop is fantastic, clean and has strong potential to reach the record harvest it’s predicted to be. A few areas reported tar spot starting to show up, especially as they moved closer to Illinois.

A couple of big numbers to point out in Indiana. First, ear counts, which were up the most year-over-year, to a 102.12 ear total in a 60-ft row. 2014 and 2018 were the only years we recorded an ear count over 100 in a 60-ft row. The next big number to examine is the overall yield percentage increase from last year and the three-year average. When all attributes are improved, the yield compared to last year grows larger than any particular area, like kernel rows around, grain inches and ear counts. In Indiana’s case, we’re up in average yield by 7.5% from last year, and 10.5% compared to the three-year average. With the increase in all areas we collect for data, Indiana’s strong numbers form a solid case for the top-yielding state in the toured area.

The Indiana bean crop was really comparable to last year when you compare numbers to numbers for the attributes we’re measuring. The only difference I see is we recorded a slightly more mature crop than last year and there seems to be more moisture in the soil. Other than that, a very ‘average’ bean crop was recorded.

On to Nebraska… Nebraska folks, you need a drink. Driving south out of Grand Island today, we saw the South Channel Platte River completely dried up. I posted a comment on Twitter about the shock of seeing an actual river dried up and someone responded that they kayaked the river on July 4. It’s an understatement to say July and the start of August have been rough on this crop.

The Nebraska crop did surprise us in a few cases. Where South Dakota struggled to find ears, the Nebraska crop seemed to have a good start to the season after getting planted a couple weeks early. Where the crop starts to get stressed is after the kernel rows around were determined and length identified in the plant. Once a hot and dry pollination hit, that seemed to create the most stress on the crop. Ear counts were strong, up 5% throughout the state. The one area we were lacking was grain inches. We were down 2.3% from last year, which I suspect was mostly because of the stress that came mid-season on the corn crop. All other measures were really close to last year, even though the drought monitor shows more stress than years past.

The bean crop felt so much like last year. Last year we measured a large number of po ds. The crop last year felt like it had potential when we left the tour. This year, it feels like we are going to have a hard time finding the yield if the dry spell continues even five to seven days from now. Irrigators were running hard, and you could see a difference in the beans when the irrigator passed an area. This Nebraska crop will be made or lost in the next week.

Today we sampled 66 more samples than we ever did before in Nebraska and 45 more in Indiana. We can’t thank the scouts enough for all their hard work!

Tomorrow we’ll run through the rest of Illinois in the east as they make their way into Iowa, and the west will tour through crop districts 1, 4, and 7 in western Iowa.


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