Scouts touring fields on one leg of the Pro Farmer crop tour are observing higher-than-expected corn yields in southwestern Iowa Wednesday morning.

One group of scouts headed north from Nebraska City, Neb., into Iowa. The group passed through the seventh and fourth cropping districts of the state, taking six samples of corn and soybeans as of late morning.

After six field surveys, the average estimated yield for the corn crop in the two districts was 181 bushels an acre. Last year, the tour calculated an average yield of 170 bushels an acre for the districts.

The corn yields were a pleasant surprise, with yields on the one route running 11 bushels an acre above last year's tour average, a farmer and crop tour participant said.

Scouts estimated an average of 1,537 soybean pods per three-foot-by-three-foot square in the same district, based on surveys. Last year, the tour's average was 1,475 soybean pods.

The early data has to be taken with a grain of salt as it only represents the one route, with scouts on another route reporting corn yields of 145 bushels an acre.

As was the theme in Nebraska and South Dakota, scouts were observing hail and wind damage from severe storms earlier in the summer.

The western leg of the tour will gather in Spencer, Iowa, Wednesday evening to compare notes, calculate yields and discuss overall trends seen.

Pro Farmer will issue its estimate of western cropping districts of Iowa corn yields and average soybean pod counts at the gathering.

Pro Farmer will issue corn and soy crop estimates Friday based partly on results from the tours.