From the Rows with Mark Bernard
Day three of the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw our group heading out of Bloomington south towards Lincoln then over to Havana and stair-stepping our way to Burlington IA. The group today included John Hohenberger of Shady Lawn Farms in Leland IL as driver, Tim Emslie of CHS from St. Paul and moi in the back seat. We also had the Ag Day crew following us as we left. What we didn’t know was thunderstorms would also be following us.
The crop we measured today was like some of the IL crops of old we measured when I first started coming on the Tour many moons ago. We sampled a high corn yield sample of 239 bu./acre in McLean Co. right out of the chute and thundered along at over 200 bu./acre on six of the ten samples we pulled. The low we pulled was a 158 bu./acre in Mason Co. Our average for the route was 206 bu./acre. The crop health was in general very good with only one field showing some leaf disease issues (GLS) in Fulton Co. The sample yield estimate was still 198 bu./acre. Another field encountered in Menard Co. revealed green snap issues. The yield estimate on that one? Still 205 bu./acre. Lagging maturity was talked about at the previous night’s meeting and much of the corn was half milk line, meaning it has a couple weeks to black layer. I think the fears of an early frost on this crop are greatly exaggerated. All in all the corn we sampled on this route gave the appearance of a very solid IL corn crop, one that given the heavy rain that fell on us should be just about in the bin.
The soybean crop was equally as impressive although there were some signs on our route that all was not as well as it could be. Pod counts ranged from a high of 1718 in Fulton Co. to a low of 912 on our first sample in McLean Co. Our average for today’s 3 x 3 bean pod counts ended up at 1300, about the same as the statewide average we released at this evening’s meeting. Any soil moisture problems were alleviated after today’s thunderstorms. That said it could put this crop at greater risk for white mold although we saw none on our route today. Something we did see however was the development of SDS in half of our samples, one of which was definitely going to take a serious yield hit as a result. There were a lot of other fields we didn’t sample that were in the same boat. Will it buckle the knees on this IL soybean crop? One route with a large amount of SDS noted doth not a disaster make. It may nickel and dime it in places however making it something to watch as we get closer to harvest.
Another day in the books on the Eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Once again, it’s time to hit the hay for the evening. Morning always comes too early and bedtime too late.
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