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From the Rows - Western Tour - Jason Franck - Day 1

August 21, 2012
By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer Pro Farmer Editorial Director

From the Rows - Jason Franck- Day 1 Western Tour

So I'm the rookie on this tour and WOW what a year to partake. I know this is going to surprise you, but the one word to describe this day was Variability. And based on tonight's meeting, people don't agree on what the definition of variability really means.

We started our leg running out of Sioux Falls, SD, with mild temps and all of the scouts we're ready to roll with the excitement of the first day. Our group headed to the furthest west route on South Dakota, with is about 25 miles west of Mitchell before heading south on highway 281

Our first two stops were over 100 bu. per acre on corn and we figured the day would continue on this path…Right?


The following three stops in South Dakota were beyond bad. One ear (yes... 1 ear) in two 30' rows does not make a good corn yield. With the lack of rain as we moved south, the ears ended up being malformed, poorly pollinated, and just plain not there.

Great, we all knew that going into this Tour, so let's find joy in the soybeans.

Wrong again!

To me this was the biggest shock mainly due to the low pod numbers. Many of the plants were knee high for the first 6 checked areas. Also, I noticed that many of the plants did not start podding until about 10" off the ground, showing that we had aborted pods early and then the lack of overall pods was a result of the challenging conditions throughout the remaining growing season.

Really I think going into this tour many were wondering how did the better conditions during the latter part of July and early August help these crops. And seeing what I saw today, it confirms that most of the better weather was too little, too late!

We continued down Highway 281 and started to get into the irrigated fields and what a relief that was. Although 170 to 180 seemed like a good yield, the RCIS crew I traveled with today said that normal in that area should have been 220. Bummer! We did eventually find a field with 202bu/ac and briefly chatted with the grower to gain some local perspective and field history, which is what this tour is about.

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