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From the Rows -- Day 4 Eastern Tour with Mark Bernard

August 26, 2011

The final day of the 2011 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour had us heading out to the west and south of Iowa City. The crew today included Heitor Hayashi and Danielle Sigueira of Ag Rural in Brazil, Greg Thessen of USDA-NASS in Iowa, and Alicia Isom of USDA. We had a great day of sampling and the day went by very fast. Before we knew it, we were rolling into Austin. While sampling fields is work, we still have a lot of fun and see a lot of things in the process.

We headed west out of Iowa City, made a loop to the south, came back north and made a relatively straight shot to the Minnesota border, staying east of I-35 on US 63, then jogging back and forth. Not unlike the route we covered last year, we found lots of cattle, fences and some wind-damaged crop in the southern part of the route.

The corn yield average on our route today was around 175, with a high near 246 and a low of 92.In the soybeans, we had a pod count of 2,726 in the 3'x3', with most running in the 1,500 range. The pod counts averaged 1,491.

Insect pressure was light, but there was a lot more disease pressure in the soybeans today. SDS was largely absent, although there was evidence of scattered pockets in fields. It’s not going away, folks. Goss’s wilt was scary in some fields. We didn’t sample the worst fields, but there were some fields where the Goss’s wilt had torched entire fields. It wasn’t hard to find in every one of our corn fields.

All in all, the corn crop we saw today was decent, although it took a while for it to hit stride and show us the kind of yields Iowa is usually capable of. Our last three samples were 246, 220 and 203 bu./acre, respectively. Corn crop health was a concern, with the Goss’s wilt issue at the forefront. The Marshalltown Blowdown lived up to its billing, lots of down corn, green snap and an increase in Goss’s wilt, likely the result of the wind damage. What a great group of people to sample with and great way to end the final leg of the Tour. Having lunch at Mexico Antigua was a great way to sit down, relax and visit. Although when three out of five of us ordered in Spanish, it made me aware of what an extremely well-rounded group I was with. (By the way, I wasn’t one of them.) The food was excellent.

Would like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and to Pro Farmer for asking me to serve as Tour consultant again this year. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun and a wonderful way to see the U.S. corn and soybean crop as well as meet some great people from all over the world. Would highly recommend it to anyone interested.     

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