Iowa sees good corn, soybean pod count low

The USDA predicts a record corn harvest

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STANTON, Iowa (Reuters) —The corn crop in southwestern Iowa showed above average yield potential but lagged behind the U.S. government’s record projection for the country’s top corn producing state, scouts on an annual tour found recently.


Soybean crop potential in the area was below average, although recent rains may help boost prospects ahead of the autumn harvest, they said during the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.


On a route that made stops in Mills, Montgomery and Fremont counties, average corn yields were estimated at 181 bushels per acre, based on surveys of five fields. That compares with 166.3 bu. in the same area during the 2015 tour and the three-year average of 169.1 bu. per acre.


“I think the corn is going to be an above average crop,” said Roger Cerven, an Iowa farmer on the tour. “Planting early went really well.”


Soybeans were exceptionally tall in the area, which Cerven said limited pod development. 


Some instances of sudden death syndrome, a yield-sapping disease that thrives in cool and wet conditions, were noted in Montgomery County soybean fields.


Scouts estimate soybean yields by calculating the number of pods per square yard to gauge yield potential.


Soybean pod counts per three-by-three-foot plot averaged 1,004.4 along the route. Soybean pod counts averaged 1,296.5 in 2015 and the tour’s average for the area is 1,188.


On another route north through Harrison, Crawford and Pottawatomie counties, corn yields averaged 161 bu. per acre and soybean pod counts came in at 1,570 per three- by-three foot square.


The U.S. Agriculture Department has projected that Iowa corn yields will average 197.0 bushels per acre, part of an expected record U.S. harvest. 


So far on the western leg of the tour, South Dakota’s corn yield was projected above USDA’s latest forecast and Nebraska’s was below the government outlook.


Scouts on the Pro Farmer tour collect samples in corn and soybeans for four days, with the eastern leg starting in Columbus, Ohio, and the western leg starting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


The two groups converge in Rochester, Minnesota to compile data. 


Pro Farmer will release its estimates of U.S. crop production, using data collected from the tour and other sources later this month.

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