The July Crop Tour, which encountered some historic drought damage in its route across five Corn Belt states, ended on a high note in Nebraska on Friday, where a field was predicted to wind up in the 200 plus yield category--despite not a drop of rain since June 23.
The grower who spoke with Agriculture.com was so pleasantly surprised that he said he would consider entering the field in a local yield contest. He attributed his good fortune to plentiful subsoil moisture going into summer.
Kyle Tapley, MDA EarthSat ag meteorologist, said the field in Washington County, Nebraska was the second best corn sample on the tour--222.4 bu/ac.
On a sobering note, crop tour participants took notice today of the continuing deterioration of fields. One disturbing sign is the emergence of large cracks in the soil (see photo below). At a stop in Harrison County, Iowa, not far from the Missouri River, one tour member pushed a tape measure 20 inches down a wide crack in the ground.
Stark differences in yields among fields of varying soil quality have been observed. "Soil type seemed to be critical on today’s leg of the tour, with areas with sandier soils seeing the lowest yields," Tapley wrote yesterday.
"Overall, the corn yields from western Iowa (149.6 bu/ac from today’ samples) were slightly disappointing considering what we saw in east central and north central Iowa yesterday," Tapley said. "Our statewide average was 154.2 bu/ac, which is higher than I was expecting and very likely higher than what the actual statewide yield will be this year.
" We did not sample northeastern or northwestern portions of the state and some of the corn had just finished pollinating, so more kernel abortion is likely to occur. We did see some struggling soybeans fields today, but in most areas a good rain will still be able to boost yields some," he said.