The 2012 Crop Watch project initiated by Indiana Prairie Farmer and Seed Consultants, Inc., started out with great promise. Unfortunately, it's become a drought monitor of sorts, and a place to study the effects of drought and heat stress on pollination.
It also apparently may become a case study in how much of a role soil types can play in crop performance. As noted earlier the outside 24 rows on one side of the field look fairly normal. Ears may be a tad small and ear tip abortion or lack of ear tip fertilization in the first place may take the top edge off yields. But compared to what's just inside the 24 good rows, it's an amazing difference. There are in fact, no ears on a good portion of that corn. You might argue that it's an inner field situation, where the center part of the field suffered from lack of air movement and even higher heat. However, most specialists say that when the happens, it's usually only a few rows on the outside that are good, not as many as are good in this field,. Besides, there appears to be other portions of the field where there is tall corn and pollinated silks.
It's still too early to tell if the cause is soil type, but people who know the area suspect that's the case. In this field and perhaps in yours the area that looks best right now often floods out. As one old-timer said earlier this year, when your areas that flood out three or four years out of five are your best crop, it's probably not a good sign.We'll provide more accurate information on how well pollination occurred once we get farther away from it, and are sure what will pollinate and what won't pollinate. By the time the combine reached the field, it should be more obvious it it's soil type that caused the vast difference in performance.