Contestants guessing the yield of the 2013 Crop Watch Field tended to lower their guess if they submitted it in late August or September, while it was dry and before actual yield reports started coming out of the field. Most people were expecting that kernels would be smaller and that test weights would drop.
For whatever reason – and there are likely some to be considered – that didn't happen. Instead, most people have been surprised by better corn yields than expected. It happened in the Crop Watch '13 field as well. The final yield for dry corn was 207.5 bushels per acre!
Wait a minute, a yield check done at the end of August came out at 189 bushels per acre, and about 185 bushels per acre if you factored in the ends. One end of the field was held back by grass and soil compaction. As it turns out the other end wasn't held back.
Yields often go about 10% or more under estimate, especially in years when it is dry in the late grain fill period. This time the yield was about 10% over the estimate. There was no hocus-pocus or attempt to trick anyone, it's just how it turned out.
What was evident after harvest was that there was more difference in soil type than was evident earlier, and that the yield checks fell on the higher soil types. That was by accident, not design, but it emphasizes the need to check the entire field, not just one side of it. Five checks were conducted, but they were all on the north half of the field, simply for convenience.
It's also possible that blank tips tended to psychologically influence one to expect lower yield. The truth is that yields would have been as high as 240 bushels per acre if the tips had filled, based on calculations. Dry weather and a lack of enough N to push yields that high prevented it from happening.
Seed Consultants will deliver free seed to the top three winners closest to the actual yield. Look for those winners to be announced here soon.