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From the Rows - Jason Franck - Day 4

August 24, 2012
By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer Pro Farmer Editorial Director

Get your plans made… 2013 Pro Farmer Crop tour is just around the corner!!

OK, I drove in on 90 west to get to the beginning of the Crop Tour on Monday in Sioux Falls, SD.  While I was driving, all I could think of was how consistent their crops were on this stretch through Minnesota.  So as we approached Minnesota today, I figured we would get to see the consistent crops we were all looking for.  Well, we did see consistency, but it was not in the ear size; it was in the maturity of their crop.  Almost all of the ears we sampled were at half milk line.  So, if the weather turns more favorable, we could still add some test weight or maybe 3% to 6% potential yield change.

 We trekked up Hwy 71 until we got to 30 and then headed east to Owatonna, MN for the final wrap up.  On this route, we saw the variability like we have seen all tour long, but I thought the plants themselves had way more consistency than I had seen all tour long. 

On par with yesterday, we saw many soybean fields that had reached maturity and were starting to turn leaves.  The only difference was the percentage of soybeans doing this was higher than we saw in Iowa.  So, knowing this, I think it is safe to say many of these fields are within limited days of also changing colors.  As a result, I think any pods that are around a 1/4" will not produce anything, reducing the potential for better pod numbers.  Also, we noticed how the cluster size was very poor compared to years past.  When we see aborted pods within the clusters themselves, we know that the heat stress was too much for this year’s bean crop.

We wrapped up our tour with a taping of U.S. Farm report this evening.  This was interesting, because growers had some great questions about this year’s Tour.  For example did corn/corn vs. corn/soybean ground make a difference?  Well, when you’re in a record drought sometimes these things are hard to judge.  But one thing I noticed today was how the corn on corn fields had ear heights that varied greatly.  This would be one good example of how corn/corn in Minnesota faced some challenges and showed more stress than soybean ground.

Well, everyone always said that this Tour is more about the people you meet than the crops we look at.  I couldn’t agree more!! The other scouts on this journey are very diverse, knowledgeable and willing to learn.  Great group of people… I enjoyed every minute of it!!

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