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Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour - Day 1


Midwest Crop Tour – Day 1 Reports (August 20, 2018)

Monday, August 20, 2018

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Eastern Route

Eastern Route Map for Day 1

Eric Miller

Eric Miller

Pioneer Field Agronomist

Pioneer Agronomy Report
Eastern Route - Day 1

  • Starts in Columbus, OH.
  • Ends in Westfield, IN.

Crop Report for Central Indiana


  • Really good start for corn and soybeans in east-central Indiana.
    • Excellent conditions during planting
  • Key word for north-central Indiana is "variable":
    • Variable rains
    • Wide range of yields


  • Most corn fully dented in east-central Indiana, some at 3/4 milk line.
  • Some effects from heat stress in east-central Indiana - since pollination heat and drought stresses have resulted in aborted kernels and shallow kernel fill.
  • Pressure from gray leaf spot.


  • Most soybeans weil into pod-fill
  • Some pressure from Frogeye Leaf Spot - could be yield limiting in fields not treated with foliar fungicide.
  • Watch for Sudden Death Syndrome.
  • Warm May temperatures led to taller soybeans; lodging seen in a lot of areas. Soybean lodging from R3 (beginning pod) to R5 (beginning seed) has been shown to have the greatest impact on yield.

Audio UpdatesListen to Local Crop Reports

Eric Miller - Pioneer Field Agronomist



Brian Early - Pioneer Field Agronomist



Photos - East Central Indiana

Photo showing tip-back in corn ears near Rushville, Indiana. Photo showing kernel depth to 1/4 milk line in a corn ear near Rushville, Indiana.

Ears showing tip-back and moderate kernel depth (to 1/4 milk line) in a field near Rushville, Indiana (Rush County).

Photo showing lodged soybeans from a field in Bartholomew County, Indiana.

Lodged soybeans from a field near Columbus in Bartholomew County, Indiana.

Photo showing corn in Jay County, Indiana, with variability from plant to plant.

Soybeans near Winchester, Indiana, showing frogeye leaf spot symptoms (Randolph County).


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. Product performance is variable and depends on many factors such as moisture and heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.



Monday, August 20, 2018

Follow the Tour on Twitter. (#PFTour18)
Follow the Tour on Facebook.

Western Route

Western Route Map for Day 1

John Mick

John Mick

Pioneer Field Agronomist

Pioneer Agronomy Report
Western Route - Day 1

  • Starts in Sioux Falls, SD.
  • Ends in Grand Island, NE.

Crop Report for South Central Nebraska


  • Pretty fair to good crop year with some areas stressed by significant drought and others needing no irrigation at all.
  • Some areas seeing little to no disease pressure.


  • Good yield potential for fully irrigated corn:
    • Rainfall more abundant north of Hwy 6; generally crops look good.
    • Some isolated areas seeing root lodging and greensnap.
    • Drier conditions south of Hwy. 6; crop has been challenged from heat and drought.


  • Mild conditions since mid-July have helped soybeans hold onto pods.
  • Fairly promising crop.
  • Recent rains may or may not help dryland crops depending on planting date and maturity.

Crop Report for Eastern Nebraska


  • Both corn and soybeans look good.
  • A few pockets of wind and hail damage.
  • Both corn and soybeans maturing about 10 days ahead of normal. Good starch accumulation in corn.

Audio UpdatesListen to Local Crop Reports

John Mick - Pioneer Field Agronomist



Jon Propheter - Pioneer Field Agronomist



Photos - Nebraska

Photo showing indications of heat stress on corn ear. Photo showing indications of heat stress on corn ear.

Indications of heat stress in corn.


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. Product performance is variable and depends on many factors such as moisture and heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.



Monday, August 20, 2018

Brian Grete
Brian Grete

Pro Farmer Crop Report

Eastern Route - Day 1
Starts in Columbus, OH and ends in Westfield, IN.

The 2018 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour kicked off in Dublin, Ohio, (a suburb of Columbus), with scouts sampling fields along 12 designated routes to Westfield, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis).

My route took me west out of Dublin through crop districts 5 and 4 in central and west-central Ohio. Corn yields were very consistent along my route, ranging from 166.7 bu. to 209.9 bu. per acre, aside from one clunker that measured only 109.9 bu. per acre. Of course, that was the only Ohio sample my group pulled that wasn’t dented. Our average yield from eight samples was 178.4 bu. per acre.

Soybean pod counts in a 3’x3’ square were also strong in central and west-central Ohio, averaging 1421.1 pods along my route. Our pod counts ranged from 612 to 2545.2. The beans were very uniform, green and healthy. That’s not always the case in Ohio. But this year the yield “factory” is strong.

As my route moved into east-central Indiana, corn yields remained strong, with an average of 185.7 bu. per acre. Soybean pod counts declined notably to an average of 990.2. Until all of the route data is in for the entire state of Indiana, however, I’ll reserve judgement on either the Hoosier state’s corn or soybean crops.

Final Day 1 observations
They say records are meant to be broken. In the case of the Ohio corn crop, we may find out this year. USDA pegged the Ohio corn yield at a record 180 bu. per acre in August. The average yield from 111 samples pulled from the state on the first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour was 179.6 bu. per acre. Historically back to 2001, the Crop Tour has measured the Ohio corn crop 3.0 bu. per acre too light. That would suggest the Ohio corn crop may get even bigger than USDA estimated in August. The number of ears per 60 foot of row were up significantly from last year and the three-year average at nearly 100. Grain length was also up marginally. One of the questions coming into Crop Tour was whether kernel depth and test weights would be high enough to support a record yield out of Ohio. While there were some reports of smaller kernels, there wasn’t enough to cause great concern.

The average soybean pod count in a 3'x3' square in Ohio came in 12.8% above last year at 1248.2. Not only are there a lot of pods in Ohio, but they are plump and there’s late-season moisture to sustain them. We counted a lot of pods that were plump and have the late-season moisture to plump up even more. Some years we measure a lot of small or flat pods that could turn into something. This year, there’s more real potential from what we saw and measured.

Get more information from Pro Farmer.

Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson
Senior Market

Pro Farmer Crop Report

Western Route - Day 1
Starts in Sioux Falls, SD and ends in Grand Island, NE.

The 2018 scouts arrived in the rain on Sunday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and measured corn and soybean fields in South Dakota in light rain on Monday. It was muddy throughout the day after some heavy showers and that’s a plus for finishing this year’s corn and soybean.

We all knew South Dakota crops were going to be better than last years’ drought-reduced harvest. But it exceeded some expectations. For corn, the story is plant populations are big—up some 8.9% from last year. Soybeans pod counts also surprised on the upside and that’s the result of the weather pattern this year.

Corn yields in South Dakota were measured by 178 bu. per acre, up 20.3% from last year’s tour results. That’s a bigger percentage increase than the 17.2% increase to a record 170 bu. an acre forecast by USDA on Aug. 10. The jump on plant populations was also accompanied by longer ears, up some 5.4% from a year ago. The South Dakota ears measured almost 7.2 inches—a big ear.

Unlike a year ago when the tour measured potential and a near-perfect last six weeks of the growing season produced extraordinary grain fill, what we measured in South Dakota today probably won’t get bigger and my prove to be a little smaller. There are spots were the crop is running out of nitrogen. Also those flooded out sections in fields can’t be seen from the road and may prove to be a larger limiting factor when combines roll this next month.

There was some debate among crop scouts about kernel size today. Some said it was an average kernel size. I saw generally slightly smaller kernels than normal and that was from fields that were already in dent. USDA said that as of Aug. 19, 38 % of the crop was in dent. That more than 3 times the five-year average of 12% for the date.

Crop is maturing quickly and it can’t go back to pick up on lost time to make sugars and starch. It’s been cloudy too, and that cuts into the plans ability to fill kernel completely. It’s not going to lose what is has, but it is unlikely to get bigger. Average kernels in a bushel may be 85,000 to 90,000. Less time to fill kernels may end of trimming final yields. The crop was rated 65% good or excellent on Aug. 19, down 4 percentage points from a week ago, according to the USDA on Monday.

Soybeans are going just fine. Pods counted in a 3 foot by 3 foot area were measured up 13.8% from a year ago at 1,025, up from 900 pods a year ago. A cold wet start stunted growth and produced smaller plants. Those plants have nodes closer together and more pods after warm, dry weather in July and early august. Not many blooms out there this year so the rains this week won’t add pods but will help plants plumb up the beans in existing pods. USDA said Aug. 10 that South Dakota yields would rise 14% from a year ago. It was interesting that USDA’s weekly crop condition report showed South Dakota soybeans conditions fell 6 points to 60% rated in good or excellent condition, the lowest since early July.

The corn and soybean crops in South Dakota are mostly disease- and pest-free. Farmers in South Dakota continue to work on reducing weed pressure in beans and using fungicide treatments to manage crops better.

Get more information from Pro Farmer.



How Midwest Crop Tour Scouts Gather Data


The Midwest Crop Tour dates to 1987. Pro Farmer was an original participant, then agreed to take over as its organizer in 1993 and began publishing the Crop Tour’s results as a service to the agricultural community at large. Crop Tour helps “level the playing field” by providing all market participants with access to information, unlike the many ongoing private assessments of Midwest crops.

In 2000, Crop Tour was expanded to its current scale. Crop Tour supporters like DuPont Pioneer enable Crop Tour to survey a large geographic area, host daily grower meetings, and provide more extensive media coverage of the Crop Tour findings.

Conducted the third full week of August each year, Farm Journal Midwest Crop Tour is the most widely followed “field survey” for corn and soybeans during the critical crop development period that happens in between USDA’s August and September crop surveys.


More than 100 “scouts” (farmers, media, agribusiness, and Pro Farmer staff) are organized into teams that fan across 20 pre-determined Midwest routes Monday through Thursday. Scout teams travel in vehicles which prominently display “Midwest Crop Tour” decals. In addition, each scout wears Crop Tour logo apparel so that all Crop Tour participants are readily identifiable by farmers and landowners.

The “Eastern leg” begins sampling in western Ohio, working its way across Indiana, Illinois, eastern Iowa and then southern Minnesota. The “Western leg” begins in southern South Dakota, then across eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and into southern Minnesota. Both sides of the Tour conclude in Rochester, Minn., on Thursday night.

Scouts attend a training session prior to Crop Tour and each team of about 2 to 4 people includes at least 1 experienced scout. The assigned routes that the scout teams travel have been consistent over the years to assure comparability.

Crop scouts walk fields in seven states during the Crop Tour.

DuPont Pioneer agronomists and more than 100 volunteer crop scouts will tabulate measurements taken from corn and soybean fields during the 4-day crop tour.

Field Selection

Teams pull onto rural side roads every 15-20 miles from their primary route and stop at survey locations that meet the following criteria:

Crop Sampling and Data
Crop Tour sampling and measurements are designed to get representative results for crop districts, states, and the entire Midwest – not individual fields or counties.

  • Safe parking available on a wide shoulder or field driveway
  • Accessible corn/soybean fields that are not fenced or posted
  • No structures such as homes, machine sheds, grain bins, or livestock buildings
  • Scouts measure 3 ears of corn or count pods on 3 soybean plants from just 1 location in each field surveyed. Each sample is identified by county so it can be tabulated by crop district, but is not associated with a specific field or farm location. Care is taken to move in and out of each field quickly, without damage.
Corn grain length and girth are measured during the Crop Tour.

Several measurements such as grain length and girth of corn ears are taken to estimate corn yields.




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