This almost too-wacky-to-describe season has varied from one section of the state to another all year, but has hammered almost every area with one hard hit or another. Central and southern counties got flooding early. Northern counties saw flooding within the last couple of weeks. Near gale-force winds hammered southern and southeastern Indiana two weeks ago, mangling many corn fields and flattening some. So why wouldn't you expect the first yield reports coming out of the field to be a mixed bag?
One 30-acre field of corn planted on time on 'hot' ground, due to gravel, yielded 145 bushels per acre. That may not be what the farmer wanted, but is pushing double what ground similar to that in the same area produced in the ultra-dry '07 season. Kernel size was variable, with some normal but some smaller kernels. Did the field run out of moisture late, resulting in differences in kernel depth and final kernel fill? Or did the field run out of nitrogen because so much N was lost to leaching and other means during the big June flood there?
Those answers are hard to ascertain after harvest is over. Dave Nanda, consultant for Crops Illustrated, an exclusive Farm Progress magazine section and research project says walking fields right before harvest can still reveal answers. For example, if a few leaves are still on stalks and there are signs of major N deficiency on ear leaves or higher,. It's a good be that the field ran out of N, and thus N deficiency likely helped limit late kernel development. That late kernel fill can make a difference between OK and great yields.
Other reports indicate corn in the 160 bushel per acre range. Again, however, these were earlier planted hybrids. Moisture range is already down into the low 20% range. Nanda is still finding many fields where the corn has either just formed a black layer, meaning moisture is 30% or slightly more, or else hasn't formed one yet but is close- what he calls the 'brown layer' stage. Once kernels form a black layer, they can no longer put more nutrients into corn kernels.
Early reports form limited soybean harvesting put yield sin the mid-40's. That may be because those were earlier varieties, often with not quite as much yield potential. Or it could be because soybeans didn't get as much water as they needed in the critical late August and early September period. More yield reports will be needed to get a better handle on soybean yield trends in Indiana.