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White County Crop Tour: Long fall ahead for White County farmers

2016 Crop Tour 1

Matt Rhinehart of Crossville counts ears in a corn field in Emma Township as part of the 2016 White County Crop Tour.

The extended planting season is evident in the maturing corn fields throughout White County, according to the participants of this year’s White County Crop Tour.  The crop tour, in its 20th year, was held on August 26.

Crop tour participant and Grayville area farmer Jeff Young, summed the overall sentiment of the group… “It’s going to be a long fall.”  Participants found a wide variety of maturity stages in the corn fields, noting that some will likely be harvested in the next few weeks.  In fact, corn harvest has already begun in the southern areas of White County.

While yields are expected to be above average for the year, there are concerns with green snap as well as stalk rot in areas hit by the late summer flooding.

Kevin McArthy, who toured Indian Creek Township, noted “[it’s] less than what I thought it would be.”  McArthy pointed out that the wet weather we had in April forced a lot of acres to be replanted.  On those acres, the “stand count wasn’t there.”

The average estimated 2016corn yield for White County is155.4 bushels per acre compared to an actual USDA corn yield of171.3 bushels in 2015.  The highest corn crop in the last 10 years was in 2014, when the USDA corn yield hit 195.3 bushels per acre.  The lowest USDA corn yield in the last 10 years occurred in 2012 with a yield of only 67.6bushels.

Burnt PrairieTownship saw the highest yield estimate at 173.6 bushels; despite having acres that were impacted by flooding earlier this month.  The lowest yielding township was Indian Creek Township in the southwestern area of the county which came in at 120.1 bushels per acre.Indian Creek had the lowest average grain length at 6.5 inches and the lowest ears per acre average at 22,564 per acre.

 2016 Crop Tour 2

Michael Cole from Norris City measures ear length during the 2016 White County Crop Tour.  Cole took samples from Mill Shoals Township.


2016 estimates for each township results were (bu/ac):

* Burnt Prairie Township 173.6

* Carmi Township 142.8

* Emma Township 170.1

* Enfield Township 155.1

* Gray Township 146.7

* Hawthorne Township 173.2

* Heralds Prairie Township 166.1

* Indian Creek Township 120.1

* Mill Shoals Township 158.7

* Phillips Township 148.0

2016 Crop Tour 3

Farmers noted a large disparity of ear length and plant population in fields scouted during the White County Crop Tour.  The corn pictured was all harvested in fields in Emma Township, and ranged from 5.0 inches to 9.7 inches.  The disparity in ear length will lead to large differences in yield potential at harvest time.

23 individuals participated in the tour, spanning out in teams across the county to take yield measurements.  Teams measured the number of stalks in 60 feet, the number of ears in 60 feet, average length of an ear, and the average number of rows in an ear.  Data was taken from at least10 fields in each township, randomly chosen around 3 miles apart from one another.

Average ear length for 2016 was 7.0 inches, up from 6.7 inches in 2015; average kernel rows was 15.7, up from 15.0 in 2015; average ear population was 27,385 per acre, up from 24,963 per acre in 2015; and the average ear-to-stalk ratio was 97%, significantly up from 89% in 2015.

For the complete report of the 2016 White County Crop Tour, go the White County Farm Bureau website at and click on the Crop Tour banner.