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Crop insurance yields: 59, 79 and 208 bu./acre

All head are up in western Illinois thanks to hurricane Isaac. Kent's head is up enjoying the slow steady rain. The head is up on our silage chopper so we can do some preventive maintenance before the final days of corn silage harvest. And a few of the neighbors have their corn heads up and ready to resume harvesting in a few days when it dries out. Almost 3 in. of rain fell in the last three days. The rain will not help the corn but our soybeans will likely benefit from it.

The crop insurance adjuster did yield checks in a large corn field with half-mile rows that we are chopping. A strip had been chopped out of the middle of the field where I assume he took the yield samples. The yield checks were 59, 79 and 208 bu./acre yields. I am still looking for the area of the field that is supposed to have a yield of 208 bu./acre. I suspect the high yield area was a small area where we fed cows hay last winter. The 59 and 79 bu./acre areas are easy to find.

The variation within a single row of corn is profound this year. Any soil type or location that had extra ability to hold water is where the corn yield is much higher and the plants are still green and healthy looking. Drought-affected corn will sacrifice lower leaves first to make more water and nutrients available for the newer plant tissue at the top of the plant. Note how the green and brown demarcation line ascends as the distance from the center of the low area increases.

Yields are up to 180 bu./acre in some fields that were planted early to early hybrids in fields that raised soybeans last year. Many fields are less than 100 bu./acre. These are fields where the corn has died and farmers are harvesting now before the plants fall over. 

My field that had estimated yields of 59/79/208 bu./acre averages 115 bu./acre, which is not far from the USDA estimate of about 120 bu./acre. 

The reality of the drought was on display in an unintended way at the 2012 Illinois State Fair Agricultural interpretive area. (See photo.)  


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