The 2019 crop year is one most farmers would choose to forget. Excessive rains early in the growing season hampered planting for many weeks during April, May and June. Many corn fields were never planted, as farmers made the decision to switch their fields to soybeans; or made an even tougher decision to not plant them at all.
It is estimated that 35% of the intended corn acres in White County did not get planted to corn this year. Figures obtained from the USDA Farm Service Agency indicate that planted acres of corn are 67,240 acres with another 35,645 acres reported as prevented plant, out of a total of 102,885 potential corn acres. The yield estimated during the Crop Tour is based on “harvested acres”.
Despite the challenges in planting corn this spring, those fields that did get planted have done fairly well, according to the participants in the White County Crop Tour. The event was held on Wednesday, September 4.
Charlie Trimble toured Phillips Township around Crossville. He commented, “The corn looks not too bad, but when you get out there and shuck it, the ears are not as long as what people thought.” Trimble attributed the short ears to the consistently wet soils throughout the growing season.
Carmi-White County High School Agriculture Instructor, Bob Lamp, toured Carmi Township with six FFA Officers and White County Farm Bureau Manager Doug Anderson. When asked his assessment of Carmi Township, Lamp said, “It was hard to find corn... and the acres we did find; the late rains are going to push our average up, but it was just tough to find those acres.”
Doug Anderson noted, “There was a lot of inconsistency in the fields we checked. Many fields have areas where the excess rainfall inhibited growth. It doesn’t take very many wet spots in a field to take off the top end of your field’s yield potential.”
The average estimated 2019 corn yield for White County is 155.4 bushels per acre compared to an actual USDA corn yield (planted acres) of 171.3 bushels in 2018. 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 67.6 bushels.
Heralds Prairie Township in south-central area of the county saw the highest yield estimate at 190.3 bushels per acre. The lowest yielding township was Phillips Township which came in at 132.7 bushels per acre.
2019 estimates for each township results were (bu/ac):
- Burnt Prairie Township 175.8
- Carmi Township140.0
- Emma Township154.3
- Enfield Township147.4
- Gray Township157.6
- Hawthorne Township150.4
- Heralds Prairie Township190.3
- Indian Creek Township143.3
- Mill Shoals Township161.9
- Phillips Township132.7
34 individuals participated in the 2019 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 8-10 fields in each township, randomly chosen around 3 miles apart from one another.
Average ear length for 2019 was 7.0 inches, compared to 7.1 inches in 2018; average kernel rows was 16.0, down from 16.4 in 2018; average ear population was 27,227 per acre, up from 26,779 per acre in 2018; and the average ear-to-stalk ratio was 96%, unchanged from 2018.
For the complete report of the 2019 White County Crop Tour, go the White County Farm Bureau website at www.whitecfb.com/croptour.
This year’s White County Crop Tour was sponsored by the White County Farm Bureau, Consolidated Grain & Barge, and Wabash Valley Service Company.