Danny Greene has been in corn fields both scouting and beginning to get an idea of yield potential. Much of his area where he provides scouting and soil testing services has received adequate rainfall. Crops pollinated during very cool weather for the time of year.
Greene operates Greene Crop Consulting in Franklin. Recently he checked yields in one field and found the potential for 200 bushels per acre. However, he only checked one spot.
"I just wanted to get an idea," he says. "You have to be careful this early. I was conservative in counting kernels on the ear that would develop. I usually don't count the kernels on the butt end or the tip kernels at this point in the season."
He carries a small chain that is 17 feet and 5 inches in length. That is the distance that represents one one-thousandth of an acre in 30-inch rows. He counts stalks with an ear within that area. Then he picks three ears at random and counts both the number of rows of kernels around the ear, and the number of kernels per row.
If he was doing it to make a more accurate prediction, he would have repeated the procedure in at least three other spots within the field and averaged the results together.
The numbers go into a formula. Find it in the Purdue University Corn & Soybean Field Guide, available as either an app or as the original printed Pocket Guide.
One of the biggest things that can happen yet is for tip kernels to abort. That happened in some fields last year when the weather turned dry in late July and remained dry thought August. Some fields also ran out of nitrogen in 2013, either because of low application rates of N per acre, or exceedingly high yields, or both.
The number of rows of kernels won't change. It's mainly how well the tip fills that's left to be determined, he says. The other factor will be how deep kernels are and test weight. Weather during the rest of the season will determine those factors.
For more corn news, corn crop scouting information and corn diseases to watch for, follow Tom Bechman's column, Corn Illustrated Weekly, published every Tuesday.