The Crop Watch feature returns to help monitor the progress and possible challenges to the corn crop this season. Once again, a field in the Eastern Corn Belt will be our crystal ball. We will monitor its progress and bring reports from the field, or issues triggered by what we see in the field, twice weekly on the Web – on Friday and Monday. We will also post articles in the magazine throughout the rest of the growing season.
The project is once again sponsored by Seed Consultants, Inc. Later in the season, we will ask for guesses as to final yield of the field. Seed Consultants, Inc. will offer prizes of free seed to those within the state hosting Crop Watch articles on the Web and in the magazine who come closest to guessing the final yield.
The 2014 yield of nearly 250 bushels per acre may be hard to top. But as the farmer who operated the Crop Watch '15 field says, "I hope it does. I need it – the price per bushel certainly isn't very good."
After a cool, wet spring, several days without rain and temperatures above normal allowed the field to be planted into warm, dry soil. The field consists of 80 acres, divided by a grass lane. All 80 acres will be measured and used for the final yield report, in dry bushels per acre.
Soils consist of gently sloping, well-drained soils interspersed with nearly level, somewhat poorly drained soils and some flat, poorly drained soil. It would likely be classified as average farmland by ag economists who do such things when reporting cash rent and land sale prices.
The field was planted on May 4. Ironically, that's the same day it was planted in 2014. By May 11, one week later, as verified by the picture, corn was emerging across the field.
Stay tuned for two reports each week!