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Nebraska Corn Yield Prospects Variable, but Above Average -Crop Tour

By Karl Plume

HEBRON, Neb., Aug 21 (Reuters) - Corn yields in Nebraska were highly variable due to excessive rains in the northern part of the state and drought conditions in the south, scouts on an annual crop survey said on Tuesday, but production prospects were generally above average.

Soybean yield prospects were seen as on par with to slightly above average, scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour said.

Drought stress was more evident as tour surveyors traversed south toward the Kansas state line, after scouting healthier crops in South Dakota and northern Nebraska on Monday.

"We started out really good yesterday in South Dakota, but yields started getting lower as we headed into Nebraska," said Marty Tegtmeier, a farmer in Sumner, Iowa, and a scout on the tour.

"They’ve had too much heat that hurt the corn crop during pollination," he added.

Corn yields along one route through Hall, Adams, Webster, and Nuckolls counties calculated an average yield of 139 bushels per acre (bpa), based on samples from two irrigated and five nonirrigated fields. Another route through the counties of Hall, Adams, and Clay calculated yields at 203 bpa, while a third through Hamilton and York counties found 197 bpa on average, mostly from irrigated fields.

The tour found an average yield last year of about 173 bpa and about 165 bpa on average over the past three years.

Soybean pod counts along the first route averaged 804 pods per 3×3-feet square. The second and third routes counted 1,111 and 1,344 pods per plot, respectively. The tour found about 1,137 pods per plot last year and about 1,174 on a three-year average.

Scouts do not estimate yields in soybean fields, but instead estimate pods in 3×3-foot plots to gauge yield potential.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a corn yield of 196 bpa for Nebraska, which would be the highest ever for the No. 3 corn state. Soybean yields were seen at 61 bpa, matching a record set in 2016 and the highest of any state.

The western leg of the tour began in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the eastern leg began in Columbus, Ohio, with the two groups converging in Rochester, Minnesota, on Thursday.

Pro Farmer, the news and marketing wing of Farm Journal, will release its estimates of U.S. crop production on Friday, drawing from data collected on the tour and other sources. (Reporting by Karl Plume, editing by G Crosse)

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