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Day 3 Western Tour Report from Terry Johnston

August 20, 2009

We rolled out this morning to cool weather and rain as we headed out to take samples on our way from Nebraska City, Nebraska, to Spencer, Iowa. When we finally moved north of I-80, the sun came out and the weather was great for the rest of day. Some areas got some really good rains this morning. The third week of August is certainly a time when growers like to see rain and this year is no exception.

As we headed into the fields we saw areas where there were cracks in the ground - evidence that it had been dry leading up to today's rain… and after today, we were in a lot of mud and standing water. The southwestern part of the state is where there was the most variability in the fields that I stopped in today… and that's especially true for corn. There was a wide range in yields and crop condition, but at the end of the day, I must have been driving down the worst looking route. Most of the reports were favorable for yield potential in that part of the state – and, in fact, other routes were finding big yield potential.

As we moved north of I-80, yields improved and we saw less variability. We did see some hail damage that ranged from light to severe, but it's hard to get a handle on what that will mean to the final overall yield for the state.

There was some light disease pressure in the corn such as rust, grey leaf spot and some stalk rot, but overall plant health was good. The maturity of the corn crop is a somewhat behind normal, but there isn't a great amount of concern for the crop making it to the finish line.

None of the routes mentioned much about insects or disease problems.

I was disappointed in the corn crop we saw today – but the other routes saw a better crop than I did. The crop in western Iowa is going to be good (possibly great – we'll see how it finishes).

The beans in western Iowa were less variable. That doesn't mean they will necessarily produce big yields, but most of the routes today found a consistent healthy bean crop. There were some aphids noted by scouts today, but they weren't found in a large number of fields. There was little discussion about disease today... there was some mention of what looked like sudden death syndrome in a few soybean fields in NW Iowa.

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