From the Rows with Mark Bernard
Final day of the 2012 Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour had us heading out to the north of Iowa City to start sampling at Center Point, then up to Ridgeway and across to Forest City. The crew today included Pat Buell as driver, Katie Micik, Romulo Campos and yours truly as navigator. While sampling fields is work, we still have a lot of fun and see a lot of things in the process. What a great group of people to sample with though and great way to end the final leg of the Tour. At lunchtime, Katie spotted the Kountry Kupboard, which turned out to a great place to sit down, relax and take on some nourishment. We knew we we’d found the right spot when the locals told us we’d found the best place to eat in town. Come to find out it had just opened up a month ago and was run by some Mennonites. The food was excellent with real mashed potatoes and gravy. The star of the show though was the pie. Katie and Pat split a piece of peach pie and I had to have a chunk of that banana cream. Both were to die for.
All in all, the corn crop we saw today was the most variable I’ve seen on the 9 Crop Tours I’ve participated in. It showed us the kind of yields Iowa is usually capable of. But it also reminded us of what kind of growing season we’ve been through. We pulled a 228 bu./acre corn sample out of Buchanan and two samples later, we zeroed a field out as there were essentially not enough harvestable ears to make it worth the time to harvest the field. We saw corn that had standability issues for the 4th state in a row. Soybean pod counts were down from last year although we did find some over 1200 pods in the 3’ x 3’ samples. There were signs that some pods were beginning to abort on a few of the soybean plants we pulled and the beans per pod in the areas where stress was most severe reflected that stress.
All in all the Iowa crop on our route lived up to the prior billing. It wasn’t supposed to be the best crop ever and it certainly wasn’t. The soybean pod counts were down and likely foretell the tale of a soybean crop that could’ve been, given a few more timely rains and some cooler temperatures earlier on during pod set.
Would like to thank our sponsors for sponsoring this year’s Crop Tour and to Pro Farmer for asking me to serve as Crop Tour Agronomic 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 US corn and soybean crop in addition to meeting some great people from all over the world. Would highly recommend it to anyone interested.