Production Blog
Pam Smith DTN\Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Friday 08/15/14

Yield Countdown

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- The signs that harvest is close go beyond the calendar date. I can smell it as I walk along the fencerows and hear it in the rustle of drying corn leaves. The other big clue is my suitcase is packed for the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

Counting around is one of the steps to figuring corn yield. A hint at how big the crop really is will be answered next week as scouts span out across the Midwest. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

I feel as though I've already been on a scouting marathon the past few weeks. A series of field days and farm visits have had me in and out of corn and soybean fields across a number of states.

Yes, I've seen a few agronomic challenges. It's easy to see what fields have and have not been tiled. I spotted Goss's Wilt early in Nebraska. Portions of western Iowa were pummeled by hail and some farmers have a ragged mess because they no-tilled back into partial stands in an effort to get a crop back in the field. There was some green snap. We know there are prevented planting acres in Minnesota.

However, on average, I expect this to be one of the least-challenged crops I've seen in the three years I've attended the tour. Most of the Midwest crop appears to have enjoyed an ideal growing season, and my guess is our calculators will come up with some big numbers.

Emerson Nafizger asked growers attending the University of Illinois' agronomy day yesterday for a show of hands as to expected yields. Farmers were shy about answering, but 180- to 200-bushel corn and 55-bushel or better soybeans seemed to win the day.

"I apologize for us only talking about soybeans today, but corn doesn't have any problems to talk about," said Nafizger. He noted the cool temperatures, but indicated that the crop is not really behind in development. "The corn crop just has very few barriers in front of it now. We have enough water stored in the soil to finish it out," he said.

It's been 10 years since Illinois set a record corn crop at 180 bushels per acre. "So although we think yields are trending up, it still seems to take the right weather to make these things happen," he noted.

Illinois saw its top soybean year in 2010 at 51.5 bushel per acre. "If I had to guess in this state, I'd have to give corn a little edge in terms of yield bumps compared to soybean this year," Nafizger said. "But we clearly have a good soybean crop going here as well."

He also noted that corn and soybean yields tend to move together. "Take the soybean yield times 3.1 to 3.2 and you'll generally get the corn yield," he said.

I'm surveying the western leg of the tour, beginning in Sioux Falls, S.D., heading through Nebraska and parts of Iowa and Minnesota. Katie Micik on our DTN staff will report on conditions in Ohio, Illinois and the eastern parts of Iowa and Minnesota.

I expect to see adult rootworm beetles. I expect to see a few soybean aphids. I'll be looking for leaf diseases in corn and SDS in soybeans. Weeds will be top of mind too. Palmer amaranth continues to gain a foothold in the middle section of this country. Waterhemp and marestail are still problems.

For more details on our crop tour coverage:…

Follow our progress on Twitter through the day at @PamSmithDTN and @KatieMDTN


Posted at 2:13PM CDT 08/15/14 by Pam Smith
Comments (2)
I would like someones opinion on what average yields might be in northeast mo. with out naming names a reliable source told me low corn yields would still be around 150 bu. per acre, I personally i haven't had yields like that in ten years. I wouldn't consider myself to be an effective corn grower for this reason. I feel like i throw a lot of money towards growing an above average crop. My corn usually looks better than average. when I go to the coffee shop I find most corn yields were better than mine. you might laugh when you read this, but conscientiously I know I should be taking more soil samples and probably be adding some micro nutrients. From an educated standpoint I don't know how to aproach this. Soil samples from the fertilizer companies say one thing. sample from the ext. service say another. Recent lime aplications might not show true ph levels. My soils vary dramaticaly as well as slopes in the same fields. Planting dates with in the same field for optimum emerence could very as much as eight days. Any help woud be appreciated. I know each person may have different theory, but lots of information is the only way to come up with something that might work for me.
Posted by doug hawes at 6:32PM CDT 08/17/14
Doug I think there are a lot of good questions in your post. I'm on the crop tour at the moment, but promise I will dig into this for you. Can you email me at
Posted by Pamela Smith at 2:37AM CDT 08/19/14
Post a Blog Comment:
Your Comment:
DTN reserves the right to delete comments posted to any of our blogs and forums, for reasons including profanity, libel, irrelevant personal attacks and advertisements.
Blog Home Pages
February  2016
   1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29               
Subscribe to Production Blog RSS
Recent Blog Posts
  • I Want My Edamame
  • Made In China
  • Mentors Help Feed the Soil
  • More Neonic Buzz
  • Enlist Cotton Launch
  • Weather or Not: Record Rainfall Woes
  • Seeds of Consolidation
  • Celebrate World Soil Day
  • Let's Make A Deal; Consolidation Rumors Continue
  • Hold Your Horses: Marestail Control Considerations
  • More Beans in the Bin
  • The Web of Work
  • New Illinois Corn Disease: Bacterial Stripe Found
  • Dicamba Bean Strategy
  • Can Rootworms Do The Backstroke?
  • Farm Progress Postmortem
  • Walk This Way
  • Crop Tour Gleanings
  • Nitrogen Management Tools Debut
  • Do Your Own Yield Check