Scouts find subpar corn yields, big soy pod counts in South Dakota

EPIPHANY (Reuters) - Average corn yields in southeastern South Dakota were below average as signs of growing-season stress were evident in the crop, but soybean yield potential was robust, scouts on an annual crop tour found on Monday.


EPIPHANY (Reuters) - Average corn yields in southeastern South Dakota were below average as signs of growing-season stress were evident in the crop, but soybean yield potential was robust, scouts on an annual crop tour found on Monday.


Missing grain on the ends of corn ears, known as "tipback" and an indication of dryness and excess heat during pollination, brought down overall yield projections, scouts said on the first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.

"It is obvious that they went through some stress," said Chip Flory, a leader on the tour. "The corn crop is lacking up here."

Corn yields were pegged at 141.4 bushels per acre on average, based on five field surveys in McCook, Miner and Sanborn counties.


The tour average for the area is 164.1 bushels per acre. In 2015, scouts calculated an average yield for the area of 174.3 bushels per acre.

Soybean pod counts per 3-by-3-foot square averaged 1,121.7 pods, above the tour's three-year average of 981.6. In 2015, pod counts in the area were 1,029.8.

Scouts do not estimate soybean yields but instead calculate the number of pods in 3-by-3-foot plots to gauge yield potential.

On another route that surveyed fields in Minnehaha and Lake counties, yield potential averaged 168.4 bushels per acre and pod counts 1,184.0.

Scouts on a third route found average corn yields at 127.0 bushels per acre and soybean pod counts of 1,348 per 3-by-3 foot square.

A fourth route pegged corn yield potential at 121 bushels per acre and soybean pod counts at 1,240.

A year ago, South Dakota was the sixth biggest state for corn production and the seventh biggest for soybean production.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has projected South Dakota corn yields at 147.0 bushels per acre this year, below the 159.0-bushel average last year.


Scouts on the Pro Farmer tour collect samples in corn and soybeans for four days, with the eastern leg starting in Columbus, Ohio, and the western leg starting in Sioux Falls, SouthDakota.

The two groups converge in Rochester, Minnesota, on Thursday. Pro Farmer will release its estimates of U.S. crop production, using data collected from the tour and other sources, on Friday.

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