Skips and Blanks Prevent ‘Spectacular’ Yields in Iowa

Day 4 of the 2016 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had scouts sampling fields from Iowa City, Iowa, to Rochester, Minnesota, along 12 designated routes.

My team pulled 12 samples in Iowa crop districts 6 and 3 today, covering Iowa, Benton, Linn, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Fayette, Bremer, Chickasaw and Howard counties. The average corn yield from those 12 stops was 186 bu. per acre. We had a range of 140 bu. to 229 bu. per acre. Quite honestly, there was more variability than I anticipated. The average pod count in a 3’x3′ square was 1,006.5, with a range of 540 to 1,901.

In the corn we sampled, a recurring theme was skips in rows and blank stalks. Other scouts sampling from eastern Iowa also reported the same issue, so it wasn’t “dumb luck” that we saw this on my route. I would estimate on average there were at least 5 to 10 ears missing from the two sample rows on the fields we sampled. If those missing ears were present, yields could have gone from really good to spectacular. Stalk quality is also a potential issue in eastern Iowa. Many of the fields we were in were green from the ear up, but showed stalk rot issues and folliar diseases from the ear down. That could end up costing farmers some yields, especially if late-season weather is unfavorably wet or windy.

For Iowa, the Tour average corn yield was 188.17 bu. per acre, up 4.4% from last year’s Tour.

For Minnesota, the average corn yield from Tour samples came in at 182.32 bu. per acre, down 4.5% from year-ago.

In the soybeans we sampled, pod counts were disappointing. We saw Sudden Death Syndrome and septoria brown spot in many of the fields. There was also scattered weed pressure, but it wasn’t as noticeable as the foliar diseases. Soybeans have the moisture to finish strong, but disease pressure in eastern Iowa may limit the soybean crop from fully benefiting from the favorable August weather.

For Iowa, the Tour average soybean pod count in a 3’x3′ square was 1,224.28, up 0.4% from last year.

For Minnesota, the average soybean pod count was 1,107.6, down 1.0% from last year’s Tour.

Source: Brian Grete,

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