The Crop Watch '12 project started out to follow one field through the season, and we're still watching and trying to assess yield and problems in that field. However, the historic drought has opened the window to watching what's happening statewide and across the country. Since yields in the actual Crop Watch field will be hard to pinpoint before harvest due to a wide variation in soil types, there has been a contest alteration. Those who want to participate in the Crop Watch contest can now guess the size of their state's corn crop in the USDA's October crop estimate. It will be issued on October 11 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says the company will still award eight bags to the first place winner, six bags to second, and four bags to third in both Indiana and Ohio. The bags are Seed Consultants, Inc. seed corn for 2013. Those who come closest to the actual state yield announced on October 11 will win.
In case of ties, there will be a drawing for the winner. One entry per family is allowed. You can send in the form in the magazine issues of the two states, or you can email to email@example.com in Indiana or firstname.lastname@example.org in Ohio. Include your email, phone number, address and number of acres of corn, soybeans and wheat raised in your entry. If you have your own farm Website and/or a cell phone, include that information as well. Entries which don't contain this required information may be disqualified.
You must submit your entry before the actual number is announced. But we're giving you up until the last possible moment to decide. Entries are due by email submitted by 11:59 p.m. October 10, or by mail with an October 10 postmark or earlier.
Farmers who heard the August estimate of 100 bushels per acre in Indiana and 124 bushels per acre in Ohio aren't so sure that the estimates are low enough, especially in Indiana, which took the brunt of the drought. Early word coming from the field has harvested yields as low as six bushels per acre. Naturally, this is off of lighter and often sandy soils. However, it's not necessarily the poorest soils. Corn on many of those acres has already been destroyed and won't be harvested at all. The August report did not change the number of expected acres to be harvested. That won't affect your yield guess for state yield necessarily, but many experts believe that number must come down since some crop will be destroyed or abandoned rather than harvested.