Tour: Crops variable in Buckeye country
As the Dog Days of summer continue to bake the corn and soybean crops in much of the country, a group of weather specialists and crop scouts are touring the Corn Belt this week to get a feel for how the crop is surviving the drought of 2012.
A soybean field in Delaware County, Ohio, was the first stop for the group, organized by MDA EarthSat Weather. The beans in this field are short, clearly planted late in the spring. They are showing some signs of aphid and spider mite pressures.
This corn field has a lot of weed pressures. It was just starting to pollinate and lacked the insect pressures clear in the nearby soybeans. With some moisture in August, this field could pull through okay.
The MDA EarthSat tour is tallying corn yield potential by counting the number of plants and ears in a 30-foot length of 2 rows. Some fields like this one in Union County northwest of Columbus, Ohio, showed as few as 16 ears for every 48 plants, while others further to the northwest looked better, with an ear per plant.
Here's another shot of some of the soybeans in Delaware County. These beans are short and have a lot of weed pressure. It's clear the control of those weeds will have a lot to do with this field's yield potential in the next few weeks.
These Union County soybeans, on the other hand, look a lot better. They're still flowering, so if they get a good rain or 2 in the next couple of weeks, they could make a decent crop. One farmer said he could either wind up with 15-bushel or 35-bushel soybeans depending on how Mother Nature behaves in the coming weeks.
Based on Monday's estimate from MDA EarthSat specialists, this field in Logan County, Ohio, will likely yield about 139 bu/ac. That compares to last year's county average of just over 168 bu/ac.
These ears are from that same Logan County field. They have decent girth (16 rows around) and are, on average, about 7 inches long. This field had about an ear per stalk.
Not all the corn's looking that good in Logan County, Ohio, though. There's a ton of variability in that area, with ears like this common in some areas. This was the tour's second stop of the morning in Logan County.
Here are some double-cropped soybeans in Logan County that were planted around mid-May. The farmer had just finished spraying about 45 minutes before the tour arrived at his field. He said his stands are thin this year because he had no moisture around planting time.
Then, the tour moved on to Shelby County, where things changed a lot! This corn field, according to MDA's calculations, could finish above 175 bu/ac, just over 20 bushels above last year's average for Shelby County. They've clearly had the rains that other farmers in the area have missed.
A tour member checks out a Darke County, Ohio, corn field. This field is well short on moisture and not quite indicative of all the corn in extreme western Ohio. This was Monday's last tour stop in Ohio before moving into Indiana.
How's this for a welcome sight? As the tour traveled east approaching the Ohio-Indiana state line, the sky opened up and brought heavy rain.