2010 Crop Tour Day 4 Observations from Roger Bernard

August 19, 2010 08:18 PM

Roger Bernard

2010 Crop Tour winds down. The numbers are in. The work is done. Time to reflect on the 2010 version of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. It brought to mind one of the stories told at our opening meeting. One scout noted in Columbus as we gathered to get ready for a week of sampling that his wife had often labeled his week on Tour as "vacation." He noted that on a recent vacation in Wisconsin, he thought he would show his wife what Tour was like. He took her into a corn field. Took her the prescribed steps into the field past the end rows. He laid out the 60-foot of row that we sample and pull ears from while being bombarded by mosquitoes. After going through the process, he said she admitted it was not a vacation. No, it's not a vacation.

And while it's not vacation, it is a break from what each of us on the Tour generally do day in and day out. And what makes it worthwhile is the people. There are folks from all walk of life. And by the time the Tour is done, those different walks of life disappear as we are all crop scouts. It will be one of the most worthwhile weeks of your life. We can basically guarantee that.

Our final Iowa corn yield: We measured 169.39 bu. per acre, down 6.4% from year-ago. That may surprise some folks, especially if they have been following USDA's crop condition ratings all season and expected that a crop that is rated mostly good or excellent by those ratings which are based on how the crop looks was going to translate into a big yield. But it doesn't always do that.

Based on our scout routes up the eastern two-thirds of Iowa, there is a lot of variability in this crop. Sure there always is. But based on those USDA condition ratings, I don't think folks apparently thought we'd find a yield result that was below year-ago.

The crops we sampled on the eastern portion of Iowa were ahead of last year but weren't as far along as what we saw in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Still, it is a crop that should be safe from losing ground to a frost -- even an early frost.

And remember, we're out here three weeks down the road from when USDA gathered their survey-based data a few days either side of August 1.

Iowa's corn crop is still a solid crop despite being down from year-ago.

On soybeans, we measured 1,347.5 pods in a 3ft.x3ft. square, up 12.6% from year-ago. But unlike corn, Iowa's bean crop has some issues. It's not as far along as the fields we had been in the prior three days. There are flat pods or ones where bean size is being built.

That means those beans will need some extra time to get to the finish line. They aren't in general lacking moisture in Iowa but will need some cooperative weather to realize the potential we measured on the Tour.

And then there's SDS. The disease certainly has made its presence known in Iowa. Most of the fields we visited today had signs of it and in areas south of I-80, it was moderate to severe. It appears it could be a factor in the final outcome for this bean crop.

Bottom line: The 2010 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is now history. The next step will be to let the combines roll. And in portions of the eastern Corn Belt, that will be sooner rather than later.

Click here for complete 2010 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Coverage.


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