White County Farm Bureau ®  - Carmi, IL           Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.
Drought and heat stress evident in White County Crop Tour
August 29, 2018

An extended hot and dry spell during the months of July and August seem to have damaged the yield potential for the 2018 corn crop, according to the participants of this year’s White County Crop Tour. The crop tour, in its 22nd year, was held on August 29.

“Drought stress and heat stress,” was the overall assessment from Kent Williams who toured Hawthorne Township. “Overall, an average crop compared to what we’ve seen in past years,” noted Williams.

Don Duvall was surprised that the corn crop was “less than windshield scouting indicated”, as he yield-checked fields in Emma Township, in the far southeastern corner of the county. “The heat had a greater effect than I realized.” Duvall believes, however, that it will still be an above average year for White County.

This year's crop tour was sponsored by...
The average estimated 2018 corn yield for White County is 160.3 bushels per acre compared to an actual USDA corn yield (planted acres) of 179.5 bushels in 2017. 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.

Hawthorne Township saw the highest yield estimate at 178.6 bushels per acre. The lowest yielding township was Gray Township which came in at 137.7 bushels per acre.  

2018 estimates for each township results were (bu/ac): 

            •Burnt Prairie Township - 173.8
            •Carmi Township - 164.0
            •Emma Township - 170.6
            •Enfield Township - 147.6
            •Gray Township - 137.7
            •Hawthorne Township - 178.6
            •Heralds Prairie Township - 158.6
            •Indian Creek Township - 144.5
            •Mill Shoals Township - 166.1
            •Phillips Township - 161.9

38 individuals participated in the 2018 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 2018 was 7.1 inches, compared to 7.0 inches in 2017; average kernel rows was 16.4, up from 16.0 in 2017; average ear population was 26,779 per acre, down from 27,600 per acre in 2017; and the average ear-to-stalk ratio was 96%, down slightly from 98% in 2017.

Don Duvall and Ryan Williams take ear measurements from a field in Emma Township near Maunie, IL during the 2018 White County Crop Tour held August 29.
Tony Blankenberger, Todd Howard, and Matt McCurdy county the number of rows on each ear sample. The group, along with Michael Cole (not pictured), toured Mill Shoals Township in the far northwestern area of White County. 
 Inconsistency was common throughout the townships in the White County Crop Tour; evidence of the impact of heat stress during pollination. These ears were all taken from the same field in Emma Township in the far southeastern area of the county. Varying soil types and irrigation seem to be a major factor in the success of this year’s corn crop. 
The large cracks in the soil in this Emma Township corn field show how desperate for rain some of the fields in southeastern Illinois are. This particular field has a sandier soil, but is not under irrigation.