How’s the corn in your area of New York? Mike Stanyard, field crops specialist with the Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team, presented at the recent New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association’s Summer Crop Tour.

On Aug. 7 and 8, Stanyard and his 10 teams in a 10-county region in northwestern New York gathered yield estimates, including Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Seneca and Cayuga. Thirty-two scouts visited 10 farms in each county, totaling 100 corn fields.

The teams followed a standard sampling procedure in each field to develop their estimates. The scouts walked 35 paces into the main rows, and then measured off 30 feet and counted the number of ears in two adjacent rows and then divided that figure by two.

In one row, they harvested ears number 5, 8 and 11 and found the average number of kernels around the cobs. They also averaged the length of grain on the ear and multiplied the number of ears by the number of kernels around by the grain length divided by the row width.

“Maturity is seven to 10 days behind,” Stanyard noted. “We’re only looking at grain potential.” And a lot can happen in the remaining days until harvest.

“Last year we had drought; this year we are dealing with wet fields, full of mud,” Stanyard said.

Cornell shares corn tour’s outlook for 2023

Attendees of the Summer Crop Tour take a few minutes to visit during a break between speakers. Photo by Deborah J. Sergeant

The teams also observed among the fields they toured nitrogen deficiency, population problems and bird and insect damage. Stanyard said that he saw corn rootworm beetles, “which we don’t see much.”

On a positive note, the teams also saw evidence of good pollination, some good-looking corn with great color and height and only a few diseases and weeds.

The average projected yield ranged from 191 in Ontario Co. to 232 in Niagara Co. “There’s some really good corn in Niagara and Orleans,” Stanyard noted. “We had bigger numbers to the west.”

Orleans’s average yield was 223, followed by Wyoming (218), Wayne (209), Livingston (208), Genesee (205), Cayuga and Ontario (both 199), Seneca (194) and Monroe (191).

Because the corn was still pretty immature in the second week of August, Stanyard is considering moving the tour to later in the month so the teams can gain a more accurate picture of the yield potential.

“It’s a bit early for accurate numbers,” he noted. “We need heat and light.”

He also wants to expand the number of counties sampled in New York and to expand the number of fields sampled within each region. But to accomplish these goals, he needs more volunteer teams to get all the work done within the tight window of two days.

Stanyard also reminded attendees to enter the New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association Yield Contest. The last day to do so is Aug. 30.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant